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MEMOIRS 



BY 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 



VOL, n 



MEMOIRS 



OF 



MY OWN TIMES. 

BY 

GEJSTER^L JAMES WILEIJ^SOJ\'. 



— — — Remember that the ways of Heaven, 

Though dark, are just : that oft some guardian power. 

Attends unseen, to save the innocent ! 

But if high Heaven decrees our fall — O let us 

Firmly await the stroke; prepared alike 

To live or die. 

Brown's BABBABOssi., 

For patriots still must fall for statesmen's safety. 
And perish by the country they preserve. 

SiVABE 



IJV THREE VOLUMES, 
VOL. II. 



PHILADELPHIA: 

]PBINT£D BY ABRAHAM SMAXI^ 
1816, 



MEMOIRS 



BY 



GENERAL ^VILKINSOX. 



CHAPTER I. 



R(j\ections produced by the persecutions of General Wilkin- 
son. — Their origin ascribed to the hononrahle John Ran- 
dolph. — flis motives, character and conduct. — Challenges 
Mr, Dana, and insults the House of Rcp-esentatixes. — 
Association with Daniel Clark of Jsfew Orleans. — Accuses 
General Wilkinson, who is tned, acqnltted, and ordered 
to command on the Mississippi. — The intrigues of Daniel 
Clark, D. W. Coxe, and J. Randolph. — They frighten 
Mr. Madison, who, to preserve his popularity, recals 
Wilkinson from command. — He arrives at Washing- 
ion. — Appeals to the House of Representatives. — Is treat- 
ed with neglect. — His conduct investigated by double com- 
mittees of the House of Representatives. — Their reports.-— > 
Congress adjourns. — Correspondence with the Secretary 
of War. — Conduct of President Madison. — Congress meets. 
— JVew committees appointed to continue the investigation 
of General Wilkinson^s life, character and conduct. — 
Their reports referred to the President. — Propositions to 
General Wilkinson by the Secretary of War, rejected.—^ 
Conference with the Secretary of War. — Various projects 
without a conclusion. — Reflections on the conduct of the 
President and the Secretary. — A general court martial 
resorted to. — Charges and plea. 

Before I open the particular subject of this volume, 
it is proper I should dcvelope the source of those perse- 
cutions, which have terminated in the ruin of my miiitnry 
fortune, and, wiiat is of more importance to tiie citi-zens 

VOL. II. A 




2 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, of the United States, liave verified Baron Montesquieu's 
^ anathema a.s^ainst republics. But prefatory to this en~ 
„ a ouirv, I will solicit the attention of the reader to a few 

tions pro- brirf reflections, t!)e necessary result of tlicse facts; they 
tlie^peis'e- "^^^ P^'cseut a Salutary warning to my fellow-citizens, 
ciiiions of and to my country — to that country, for which I have 
XV "it!^ lived, and for ^vhicli I am I'eadv to die. 
son. if pfi'sonal ingratitude stands first on the catalogue of 

human vices, surely, public ingratifude must be ranked 
among the grossest violations of political morality, with 
this important distinction, that whilst the first blights in- 
dividual reputation only, the last deforms the national 
character. If public services and public rewards should 
be commensurate — if the first be a patriotic duty, and the 
last an obligation of gratitude, whoever attempts to subvert 
these essential pi-inciples of the social pact, strikes at the 
basis of public confidence, and aims a mortal blow at pri- 
vate virtue, and political Justice, which form the strong- 
est ligaments of republican institutions; for when private 
virtue is banished, her associate will follow, and avarice 
and ambition, the fruitful sources of corruption, will seize 
upon the heart, and take possession of the community. 
Should enquiry be made, whether the fair fame of this 
young nation, has been sullied by such an atrocious deed? 
niy readers need only call to mind, the mode adopted for 
the reduction of the Ijite army, and t!ie painful truth will 
excite a blush for President Madison and his coimsellors, 
who, to gratify personal animosities, and promote a venal 
selfish policy, have sacrificed the public weal, rent the 
hallowe'l bonds which connected the citizen and the state, 
and introduced a precedent, which inflicts deep and dead- 
ly wounds on the confidence and patriotism of the soldier. 
Animal >Yithout respcct to rank or character, merits or quali- 

mistlkea fixations, they have interpreted mere animal courage, 
for mili- and the prodigal sacrifice of human life, into the consum- 
taiys. 1 . jyj.^(i,j„ ^c military skill; and to divert public scrutiny 
from their own conduct, and screen themselves from me- 
rited reproach, they coriscntcd to receive tlie blood-stain- 
ed lists, of our slaughtered countrymen, as passports to 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^ 

the pinnacle of fame; whilst the hoary veteran, and the CHAP. 
war-worn soldier, whose lives had been spent in the mili- _^^_^,^^ 
tary service of the country, were, under false pretexts 
mid affected sensibilittjf discarded to make way fur the 
favourites of fortune; yet these are the men who presume 
on popular favour, pretend to public lionours, and solace 
themselves with the prospect of uninterrupted power, as 
the mean of continued corruption ; nntil executive in- 
Jluence and patronage shall leave to the people^ the forms of 
the constitution only. 

Reviewing these scenes of injustice and inhumanity, Reflec- 
the philanthropist weeps over the frailties of man, and tJi'(!^^ul! 
averting his eyes from the agitations and strife, the in- nn-^- of 
trigues and ambition, which menace tlie happiness of his ^^^^uhe 
country, lie places all his hopes in the cultiu'e of letters civic arts. 
and the civic arts, for the amelioration of the sad condi- 
tion of his fellow-creatures; but it is in vain we expect to 
soften and amend the heart, by expanding the intellect 
unaccompanied by a sense of religious obligations ; the arts 
and sciences enlarge the understanding and refine tlie 
taste, but they neither smooth asperities of temper, nor 
excite kindly propensities ; indeed, by extending the 
spliere of our appetites and inclinations, without the sa- 
lutary restraints of religion and morality, which are 
inseparable, if we may judge from practical life and 
living examples, they rather stimulate the lusts of the 
flesh, than chasten the affections of nature. It will be 
seen in my own particular case, that in the 19th cen- 
tury, I have been sacrificed to angry passions and am- 
bitious intrigues; and that my uniform zeal in the 
public cause has been repaid by persecutions, which 
sprang up out of frivolous incidents, to which I was not 
a party, and unlooked for events, over which I had no 
centre ul. 

I can distinctly trace the source of my persecutions, 
for the last eleven years, to the celebrated John Randolph 
of Roanoke, who is entitled to all the cre<lit, to be deriv 
ed from the cunning, zeal, perseverance, and perfidy, dis- 
played in his complottings against the character of a 



* MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, man, whom he Feared ami hated; and, even now, after 
^^^,,^,,^^ President Madison has consummated the first wish of his 
Gcii ill I'eart, wlien I can no longer be an object of enA^ or jeal- 
w.ikin- oiisy to any body, Mr. Randolph cannot forbear the vin- 
seciition's ^i^tive trlrimph of ct)\vardice, and from his ^^ vantage 
traced to ground,''^ Still exerts his puny efforts to mangle my repu- 

thi iion. . . 

John Ran- tation : betrayinf^. m the true spirit of his boasted anccs- 
dolph. try,* a propensity to scalp the dead, for which only, he is 
qualified. 

Mr. Randolph's prejudices against military men, have 
been variously accounted for, by some tliey have been 
imputed to envy, by others to jealousy, and by a third 
party to an illilieral spirit of rivalry; but for my part, I 
ascribe them to the casiigation, which he provoked from a 
military officer, pending the session of Congress 1797-8, 
whilst Mr. R. was still a beardless youth; the incident 
cannot be forgotten, by the adults of Philadelphia, be- 
cause it happened at the theatre, made a great noise, 
and produced a Congressional enquiry which tei'minated 
Avithout consequences, tke officer retaining his comndssion, 
and Mr. Randolph his stripes; at ihe pei-iod of this occur- 
lence, I w as engaged on the western frontier, where, with 
the exception of a short interval, I continued until the 
spring, 1804, when my public duties recalled me to the 
seat of government, and there it was my misfurtune to 
meet Mr. Randoljjh, from tlie vortex of whose malevo- 
lence, it was impossible I should escape. 
Mr. Ran- The Yazoo question, and Judge Cliase's trial, which 
*haU ntre ^S'^'^^^^f^ ^'^^ Eighth Congiess, so entirely occupied the 
several Jevcrish facvltics of Mr. Randolph, that he did not dis- 
members ^"''^ ""^ ^^''^'' "^'<^'''t attentions, during that session; but 
being emulous of a chivalrous character, he excepted to 
certain expressions which fell from gentlemen in the 
w^armth of debate, and challenged several eastern mem- 

* I have understood INIr. Randolph traces his lineage, to the Indian 
princess Pocuhiintus of Appamatox, but it is possible he may be des- 
cended from the Shawanoes, who are most remarkable for barbarity, 
cunning and perfidy, and Mr. R. more strongly resembles that nation, 
than any other of the Aborigines within tiie limits of theUnited States. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 5 

bers to single comhaU who, he well knew, were insupera- chap. 
bly opposed to the Gothic appeal, by principle and edu- 
cation. The honourable Mr. Dana, of Connecticut, jvienaces 
was distinguished by Mr. Randolph's war-crtj on this Mr. Dana, 
occasion; approaching him in his seat on the floor of gdj^gCQ^. 
Congress, he insulted the national representatives, by gress. 
audibly menacing Mr. Dana in the face of the whole 
house, yet did not attempt to carry his threats into exe- 
cution. I was a witness of the scene I have described, 
and retired from it with indignation and disgust. 

Pending the following session of Congress, Mr. Ran- 
dolph found himself more at leisure, and without a sha- 
dow of prov(fcation on my part, for I had never wronged 
him, he wantonly attacked my name and character, and 
thenceforward seized on every occasion to misrepresent 
my conduct; and from thefioor of Congress, to assail me 
in language wliich would have been disowned in the most 
vulgar haunts of society. Unoffending, absent, and de- 
fenceless, I became the favourite theme of this American 
ThersiteSf* who, regardless of decency, or truth, or jus- 
tice, marked me as the victim of his calumnies, and co- 
vered me with obloquy, — conscious, that by these ex- 
cesses, he had offended beyond excuse, and, that by 
groundless assertions he had committed his character for 
veracity, he sought to shelter himself <« per fas aut per 
nefas" under my dishonour. To accomplish this object. His con- 
he directed his views to Colonel Burr's conspiracy, and coLBiirr's 
at the commencement of that gentleman's trial, presented tiial. 

* " Thersites only clamour' d in the throng, 
" Loquacious, loud, and turbulent of tongue ; 
" AiiPd by no shame, by 710 respect controuCdf 
*' In scandal busy, in reproaches bold.- 
" With -witty malice, studious to defame; 
" Scorn all his joy, and 'triu7nph' all his aim. 
" Spleen to mankind his envious heart possest, 
" And much he hated all, but most the best. 
" Lo7ig had he lived, the scor7i of every Greek, 
" Vext -when he spoke, yet still they heard /«>« speak. 
" Sharp -was his voice ; -which i7i the shrillest tone, 
" That inth injurioics taunts attacked the throne." 

Pope's trans. Homer's Iliad, book il. 



g MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, himself in court, at Richmond, where he almost volun- 
^" teered his services for the grand jury, to supply the 
place of a gentleman,* who had been exi epted to by the 
prisoner ; yet, having frequently denounced Colonel 
Burr, Mr, Randolph was obliged to acknowledge his 
prejudices, but added, he could render him justice, and 
was accepted, I verily believe, on account of his known 
hostility to me; because, it was well understood, 1 should 
occupy a conspicuous place on the trial. 
He is ex. At the head of this inquest, Mr. Randolph laboured to 
pose . effect his purpose, by presenting me for misprision of 
treason, on the ground that I had concealed from the 
Presitlent, General Dayton's association with Colonel 
Burr, notwithstanding I had, several months before, put 
the President in possession of the fact ; heretofore, Mr. 
Randolph had confined his slanders to the floor of Con- 
gress, but, being exasperated by the failure of his at- 
tempt to disgrace me by an indictment, he abandoned the 
ground of privilege, and let drop certain aspersions which 
obliged me to strip him of the lion's skin he had so long 
worn, to the annoyance of the House of Representatives, 
and to " UNMASK THE BILLY." 
Character- Mr. Randolph, like most of his species, is by nature 
Messrs timid, yet, understanding the value of courage to the 
Randolph shudow of a man, he had contrived to acquire the repu- 
with anec- Nation of a projessed duellist,^ which, though in general, 
dotes of a symptt>m of cowardice, serves to frighten tvomen and 
children, and men of weak nerves. He is not susceptible 
of shame or remorse, but is exceedingly sensible to the 
stings of wounded vanity. Degraded, from the character 
©f a BRAVADO, and outlawed in honour, by the exposure 
lie had forced from me, he sought in tlie bosom of sym- 
pathy, the only redress suited to his taste, and in Mr. Da- 
niel Clark, of New Orleans, he found a congejiial spirit, 
every way qualified for his purpose — a man! soaring 

• It is believed, the present Governor Nicholas, or the honourable 
^Mr. Giles. 

•f In the course of his argument on Judge Chase's trial, Mr. Ran- 
dolph, in contrastiniT the obligations of law with the impulse of feel- 
ings, vindicated duelling. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 5 

above vulgar prejudices, and distinguished for political CHAP, 
depravity and moral turpitude.* This gentleman who ^ 
had always been my professed friend and obsequious ser- 
vant, as his correspoTidence will testify, was suddenly 
convfTted into a remorseless enemy, and the world re- 
mains to be informed, of the causes of this sudden revo- 
lution in the conduct of Mr. Clark. 'Tis true, his con- 
nexion with Colonel Burr, has been proved, by the 
strongest circumstantial evidence, and is credited by the 
candid part of society; but the embers of traitorous re- 
venge, which lay smothered in his bosom, were blown 
into a flame, by incidents, which it has become my duty 
to explain, however delicate the task. 

Mr. Clark, by intrigue and management, had effected 
his election to Congress, from the state of Louisiana, in 
the year 1806, and on his arrival at the seat of govern- 
ment, he contrived to impose himself, as a man of rank, 
family, and boundless fortune, who had sacrificed the ad- 
vantages of a title, to the religion of his ancestors; and 
he supported the imposture, by liberal donations and os- 
tentatious charities, which gave him great celebrity ; his 
apparent worth recommended him to his political sect, 
and his affected gallantry to the fair sex ; and, in 1808, 
Mr. Clark was as conspicuous in the city of Washing- 
ton, as the imposters De Crillon and De Graff became 
afterwards, in 1812. 

In November, 1807, whilst Mr. Clark was running Conversa» 
this career, and receiving the homage of distinguished sjjTcti'ng- 
characters, 1 visited Annapolis, accompanied by Doctor ^*'' Clark, 
Carmichael, of the Mississippi territory, and Captain 
Murray, of the army. At this time, trusting to Mr. 
Clark's professions and deportment, I had no cause 
to doubt the sincere attachment which he avowed j he 
had attended Mr. Burr's trial, at Richmond, on the sum- 
mons of the prisoner — had waited on me, at that place — 
professed he knew not for what he was summoned, and 

• See the depositions of George Mather esq. p. 103. — Colonel Wm. 
Wlkoff, p. 104.— James Mather esq. Appendix, No. XXV.— H. P. Nu- 
gent, No. XXVI.— Thierry, No, XXVH. 



$ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, (lid not appear before the court ; but the style in wliich 
' he was sj^kcn of, at Annapolis, excited the astonishment 
of my Companions, who liad known him eight or ten 
years, and were well acquainted with his real character 
and circumstances; from his riches, the conversation 
glided to his personal merits and accomplishments; and 
when mention was made of his gallantry, and the havoc 
lie was making among the hearts of our charming coun- 
trywomen, it produced some pleasantry from these gen- 
tlemen, which did not appear designed to injure Mr, 
Clark, yet, would not have recommended him. Du- 
ring this visit, I dined with one of the most distin- 
guished and respectable characters of our country, who, 
after tea, took occasion to ask me, whether I knew 
Mr. Clark, of New Orleans, and jjcoceeded to enquire 
into his circumstances. Not knowing at the time, that 
Mr. C. was, even, an acquaintance of the family, I was 
struck by the enquiry; and from my knowledge of his 
liabits of finance,* it occurred to me, that he had bor- 
rowed, or was about to borrow, money from the enqui- 
rer, for whom I had, since the year 1775, cbeiished an 
undeviating respect and attachment, and, of consequence, 
I felt it my duty to satisfy his enquiries; but, not before 
I had adverted to my standing with Mr. C, to the deli- 
cacy of the subject, and the propriety of treating it con- 
fidentially, which was acquiesced in. I then stated, with 
great candour, that Mr. Clark had inherited a cotton es- 
tate from an uncle, which, with judicious management, 
would produce a revenue of S12,000 per annum; that I 
possessed no further knowledge of liis circumstances, but 
tliat, he w^as a merchant of gi-eat enterprise, and, that I 
had, the preceding month of March, been offered, in New 
Orleans, his note at nine months, on a discount of about 
one-third. The gentleman, with w!u)m I was convers- 
ing, mnarkod, that tliis was « a rerij had sign,'^ and no- 
tliing furtiier was said; it is proper to observe, that a 
third gentleman was in the room, wdio in the rourse of 
the conversation, drew near anr' attended to what passed. 
* Borrowing from A to pay B, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 9 

Soon after this visit to Annapolis I arrived at Wash- chap. 
ington, and, to my surprise, learned that Mr. Clark was '• 
addressing a very young, and champing daughter of the 
third gentleman, to whom I have alluded, which caused 
me unfeigned concern, not only for the interesting ohject 
of his attentions, and the ancient and honourable family 
with which he sought an alliance, but also, lest he shoidd 
be informed of the conversation whicli had casually oc- 
curred at Annapolis, and be led to misinterpret my mo- 
tives; a few days after I was advised this had taken 
place, and that Mr. Clark was highly incensed, 1 how- 
ever called on him accom{)anied by Doctor Carmichael, 
and was coolly but jjolitely received, he was describing a 
tract of country in Louisiana, to a Mr. Chew of Mary- 
land, on a chart spread before them, and made reference 
to me concerning its merits. 

The association of Mr. Clark, to avenge the indignity Clark's 

offered to his friend Mr^ Randolph, is suMciently proven •eiiers, of 
, „ ,..•,.,, the 2(1 and 

by the mummery exhibited in the House of Represen- 5th Jan. 

tatives, when I was accused by the latter: but, for a J808,re- 

icrrsu to. 
more complete developement of the horrible plot, I shall 

refer the reader to Mr. Clark's letters, of the 2d and 9th 
of January, 1808, to his employe Thomas Power, in which 
he describes with great perspicuity and precision, the mo- 
tives of the attack against me, and the management of the 
confederacy.* It will be there seen, how the proud, the 
imperious, the magisterial, Mr. John Randolph, who 
eimdated the character of a man, steeled in honour, a strdri' 
ger to indirection, and superior to intrigue^ can stifle the 
compunctions of conscience, silence the voice of justice, 
and, to glut his revenge, league himself with the most 
])rofligatc of the human race; nay, that he could em- 
ploy Daniel Clark, a rencgado, who had fourf times 
changed his allegiance; and become the accomplice of his 
imposition on the House of Representatives, and an aC' 

• See page 57 of this volume. 

t A British and Spanish subject, a French and American citizen, 
in turn. — See the testimony of J. and G. Matlier, and Colonel W»lliam 
Wikoff. 

VOL. II. B 



40 



MEMOIRS BY 




cessary to the perjurirs with which he stained the re- 
cords of that honourable hody. 

After several weeks of preconcert, between the asso- 
ciates, Mr. Randolph, on the 31st December, 1807, in- 
terrupted the business of the House of Representatives, 
to intr()(hi('e several documents, which had been artfully 
devised by Mr. Clark, with the aid of his employ e* Mr. 
Power, to draw upon nie the public indignation; the 
reading of these papers was immediately followed by a 
resolution, previously digested, and offered by Mr. Ran- 
dolph, in the following words, viz. 

« Resolved, that tlie President of the United States, be 
requested to cause an enquiry to be made into the con- 
duct of Biigadier-general James Wilkinson, commander 
in chief of the armies of the United States, in relation to 
his having, at any time, while in the service of the Unit- 
ed States, corruptly received money from Spain, or its 
agents." 

Concert of Mr. Randolph, in the course of his observations, refer- 
Chik and ^^^ the Housc to Ml'. Clark, who, he said, if t( coerced by 
Randolph, fhe authority of the Houses'' could give more « damning 
£t)irfence," tlian that, conveyed by the documents of Clark 
and Powe!*, which he had read in his jdace; when Mr. 
Randolph sat down, Mr. Clark arose, and contributed 
his part to the farce, which will be particularly noticed, 
in anotlier place. So soon i-.s these proceedings came to 
my knowledge, I seconded tlie pi-oposition of Mr. Ran- 
dolph, by requesting an investigation of my conduct, in 
relation to the accusations, brought against me by him, 
and a court of enquiry was granted, agreeably to the fol- 
lowing order: 



Court of 
enquiry. 



« War Department, Jan. 2rf, 1808. 
«f Tn compliance with a requcsi*; from Brigadier-gene- 
ral ^^ ilkinson, the President of the United States has 
directed a court of enquiry to be instituted, for the pur- 
pose of hearing such testimony as may be produrod, in 
relation to said General James Wilkinson having been, 



GENERAL WILKINSON, 11 

or now being, a pensioner of the Spanish .e^overnment, CHAP, 
while holding a commission under the government of the ^ 
United States. 

« President — Colonel BurLeck. 

«' Members. 
« Col. T. II. Cashing, Lt. Col. Jonathan Williams. 

« The court is directed to meet at the city of Wash- 
ington, on Monday, the llth day of the present month, 
January, as a court of enquiry, for the j)nrpose before 
stated j and after a full investigation of such evidence 
and circumstances as may come to their knoMledge, the 
court will report to this department a correct statement 
of its proceedings, together with its opinion, on the 
amount of tlie testimony exhibited. 

" Walter Jones esq. distiict attorney, for the district 
of Columbia, vviU be requested to act as judge advocate, 
or recorder to the court. 

(Signed) « H. DEARBORN, 

« Secretary of War J* 

The court was formed on the 15th, and I appeared be- Messrs. 
fore it. My accusers, Messrs. Clark and Randolph, Ra'lldotph 
had been previously summoned to attend the court ; but, refuse to 
having nothing to allege, or fearing a scrutiny, they de- court. 
clined under different pretexts, preferring the floor of 
Congress, for the proclamation of their opinions, their 
hearsays, and fictions; from whence their slanders might, 
with impunity, be disseminated to mislead the public 
judgment.* 

But, although Mr. Clark never could be brought be- 
fore any judicial tribunal, where, by a cross-examina- 

* Alas ! the poisons which they disseminated, were but too a^^rec* 
able to the American palate, which had been vitiated ijy the licen- 
tiousness of the times ; they took deep root, and cannot be eradicat- 
ed, until the grave shall disarm my enemies, and the radiance of 
truth, shall dispel the mis^s ot prejudice. 



IS MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. tioH, his falsehoods might have been detected and expos- 
ed, he spared neither pains nor expense to procure such 
Conduct testimony as might sustain his perjuries ; and he found a 
of Messrs. zealoiis auxiliary, in his co-partner, Daniel W. Coxe, 
J) ^'^ " esquire. Mr. Coxe, in his visit to Andrew Ellicott, at 
Coxe. Lancaster; his deposition rendered to the court of en- 
quiry; and his testimony before a committee of Con- 
gross; displayed the ardour of his sympathy, and the ex- 
cess of his zeal; and Mr. Clark's reiterated application 
of the forgeries, and perjuries he had procured, marks 
his unceasing industry and vigilance. Yet, after six 
month's scrutiny, during which period, records were 
ransacked, from New Orleans to Wasliington city, nu- 
mcrtiis depositions were received, by consent, and many 
witnesses were examined viva voce, the court, after the 
most pvttient deliberation, unanimously awarded the fol- 
lowing opinion, which was approved by the President. 

COURT OF ENQUIRY. 

« IVashington City, July ithf 1808. 
Opinion of « After a full investigation of such evidence and cir- 
ofena'uirv f^n'^istanccs, as have come to the knowledge of the court, 
in the course of its proceedings, a correct statement of 
which is hereunto annexed, and after mature deliberation 
upon the same, tlie following opinion, the amount of the 
testimony is respectfully submitted : 

" It has been proved to the satisfaction of tliis court, 
that Brigadier-general James Wilkinson had been en- 
gaged in a tobacco trade, with Governor Miro, of New 
Orleans, before he entered the American army, in 1791; 
that he received large sums of mcmey, for tobacco, deli- 
vered in New Orleans, in the year 1789; and that a 
lai'ge quantity of tobacco was condemned, belonging to 
him, and stored in New Orkans, in that year; but it has 
not been proved, and after the fullest investigation, and 
comparison of testimony in the possession of the couit, it 
does not appear, that he has received any money from 
the Spanish go\crnment, or any of its officers, since the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 13 

year 1791, or that he has ever received money from the chap. 



government, or its officers, for any other purpose, but in 
payment of tobacco and other produce, sold and deliver- 
ed, by him or his agents. 

« It has been stated by the General, that after his da- 
maged tobacco had laid some years in the stores at New 
Orleans, his agent there received for it, and transmitted 
to him, the several sums, credited in the copy of an ac- 
count current,* presented by him, and marked No. — ; 
and under the impression, that the letters accompanying 
said account, were written by his said agent, Philip No- 
Ian, the court think it highly probable, that statement is 
correct. They, however, do not consider the verity of it 
of the least importance in the case, since, if he did re- 
ceive the money, as stated, the transaction was fully jus- 
tifiable, and if he did not receive it, there is no proof of 
bis having received it at all. 

" It is therefore the opinion of this court, that there is 
no evidence of Brigadier-general James Wilkinson, hav- 
ing, at any time, received a pension from the Spanish 
government, or of his having received money from the 
government of Spain, or any of its officers or agents, for 
corrupt purposes ,* and the court has no hesitation in 
saying, that, as far as his conduct has been developed by 
this enquiry, he appears to have discharged the duties of 
his station, witli honour to himself, and fidelity to his 
country. 



I. 



«H. BURBECK, President. 
« T. H. GUSHING, 
«JONA. WILLIAMS 

*« City of Washington, June 28th, 1808. 



« T. H. GUSHING, "),,;„ 



ii July 9.d, 1808 — ^Approved, 

(Signed) « TH : JEFFERSON." 

* See page 119- 



^4, MEMOIRS BY 

CHAi'. Having passed the ordeal at Richmond, and repelled 

*• the calumnies of Mr. Randolph and his confederate, 

'"■^'^^'^^^ j^Ij.. Clark, I flattered myself, the vengeance of my 

enemies had been exhausted, and that my persecu- 

General tious had terminated. Short-lived delusion! — On the 

Wilkinson ^j of December, 1808, I was ordered on command, to 

ordcrccl 

on com- New Oileans, to take charge of a body of levies, to be 

mand, at assembled at that place, from their cantonments, which 

New Or- * 

leans. extended from New York to Georgia, and included the 

western states ; the season was inclement, and the sutfer- 

iwgs of these recruits, under inexperienced officers, were 

extreme; and these were the predisposing causes of the 

diseases which afflicted the corps at Terre aux Boeufs. 

state of On arriving at New Orleans, in April, I found the 

the ser- troops still assembling, one-third of them down with dis- 

Vice thcrG. 

ease — the whole involved in frightful disorder — -men and 
officers, with a few exceptions, abandoned to profligate 
dissipation, and the several departments destitute, not 
only, of the means necessary to the health, comfort, and 
accommodation of the sick, but to any operation of the 
troops on the most circumscribed scale. 

Whilst labouring in the public service, on the Missis- 
sippi, and encountering every ill, which could afflict a man 
of feeling, my enemies were actively engaged, to accom- 
plish my ruin. Mr. Clark, with the assistance of his co- 
partner, Mr. D. W, Coxe, and two or three other persons^ 
ivhose names could not bear the light, were secretly compil- 
ing an artful and scandalous libel in Philadelphia; and Mr. 
Randolpi), in Virginia, was intriguing with the idle, dissi- 
pated, and unprincipled malcontents, who, under the pre- 
text of ill health, resignations, or important family con- 
cerns, had shrunk from duty, at New Orleans, and aban- 
doned the recruits they led to the country, who looked up to 
their paternal care, for protection in healtii and kindness in 
sickness. Among this description of ill-intentioned offi- 
cers. Captain Winfield Scott was the most conspicuous ; 
for he not only deserted his immediate countrymen, and 
companions in arms, whom he led from Virginia, but had 
previously deprived them of two month's pay. The excite- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 15 

meiits of Mr, Clark's libellous publications, and the per- CH/VP. 
<i«ly and misrepresentations of this shameless band of *• 
deserters from the public service, produced clamours „,, a- ^ 

* • 1 he enect 

which appalled the cold, selfisli, timid heart of President of public 
Madison. — An enemy purposely observed, « if the Pre- ^If p°"*;. 
sident does not drop Wilkinson, the people ivill drop him." clcnt Ma- 
This was the tocsin, which spread terror throughout the ^'**^"' 
palace, and the sacrifice of the military commander was 
the necessary consequence. I was, accordingly, recall- 
ed from my command, to conciliate the traitors 1 had 
baffled — the peiSDiial enemies whose calumnies I had re~ 
pelled — and a numerous band of their converts. But, 
\N hy shouhl I complain ? — if it be true, as I have been as- 
sured, by high authority,* that Mr. Madison did yield 
up his own judgment, a-nd consent to involve the nation 
in w^ar, sooner than split witlj the party, on whom he de- 
pended for liis reelection, to the presidential chair ? 

I arrived in Washington the 17th of April, 1810, where Appoint 

I found two committees of Congress in session, under re- T^^"^ 

^ ' two corn- 

solutions of the House of Representatives ; one fo en- mitiees 

quire into the causes of the viortality among the troops, on ° .'^"' 

the Mississippi, whom I commanded ; and the other, mvesti- 

with powers to investigate my public life, character, and jj^^^i ^yji, 

conduct. Having failed to destroy me by the award of kinson's 

conduct. 

* Flis excellency Governor Chittenden informed me, at Vergennes, 
in Vermont, the 21st of April, 1814, that, anterior to the decl. ration 
of war, a caucus of gentlemen belonging to the House of Represen- 
tatives, who flu'oun d that measure, advised the President, Mr. Ma- 
dison, by a committee, that it was necessary he should recommend 
it ; the President replied, that as the house had been put in posses- 
sion of all the information on the subject, within his knowledge, he 
considered it most proper that a, measure of such high responsibili- 
ty, should be proposed by the immediate representatives of the peo- 
ple. With this answer, the committee returned to the caucus, who 
ordered them immediately back to the President, to inform him, that 
unless he conformed to their desires, they should not support his re- 
election to the presidency. This was a conclusive argument witli 
Mr. Madison, and the manifesto of the 1st of June, 1812, followed. 
This anecdotir is given as it was received, and I heard similar decla- 
rations, from a most respectable member of the bouse, relative to 
the presidential election. 



16 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, the court of enquiry, instituted in 1808, Mr. Raiidolplj, 
^ and his partisans, of whom he had gained a consider- 
ahle accession, determined to take broader and safer 
ground ; expecting, under the auspices of a commit- 
tee of the house, to remedy the delinquency of a court of 
enquiry, composed of men of honour, acting under the so- 
lemnitij of an oath; for, although Mr. Randolph and his 
partisans were sensible the committee was incompetent 
to form a judicial decision, in the case, yet it might be 
used to collect a mass of informal, unauthentic accusa- 
tions, which being sent forth to the public, under the au- 
thority of the House of Representatives, without expla- 
nation or vindication on my part, would serve to enve- 
lope my character in doubts and suspicions, and to excite 
prejudgments against me. Of this board, a Mr. Butler, 
of South Carolina, was chairman. The other, I have 
caiise to believe, was appointed at the instance of the 
secretary of war, or of General Hampton, who, it will 
appear, had sent an oflacer (Captain Harrington) to 
Washington, to promote such an enquiry; or it may 
have originated with the chairman, Mr. Newton, him- 
self, who moved for the enquiry, professedly, to satisfy 
the public mind, but, in fact, to criminate me, and acquit 
the secretary of war of all blame. 

Immediately on my arrival, I addressed a letter,* to 
Mr. Butler, to which I received no answer. This com- 
mittee had been appointed, to criminate vie, and they were 
faithful to the trust ; 1 was, not only, not 2)ermitted to con- 
front my accusers, but xvas not allowed to defend myself. 
The enquiry was held in conclave, no exculpatory testimony 
was received, and that xvhich I transmitted to the commit- 
' tee, was rejected. Out of twenty-nine authentic documents, 
siibmitted to this committee, one only was reported to the 
House, and that, the farago of perjunes, uttered by Andrew 
ElUcott; although there were among them, thirteen deposi- 
tions and examinations, recorded by the cmirt of enquiry, 
which tended utterly to discredit the affidavit of Daniel 

' See Appendix, No. CXXVIT. 



(GENERAL AVILKIKSON. I7 

Clark, and to acquit me of the charges which he had sub- cilAP. 
mitted to the House of Representatives, at the instance of '■ 
our Thersifes. The testimony of Mr. Isaac Briggs, and ^'^''^^'''"^*^ 
of Captain William Williams, was sljamefully garbled 5 
anonymous letters, hearsays, assertions, fctions, and forge- 
ries, furnished by the conspirator Clark, and the alien Tho- 
mas Power, were committed to the records of this im- 
rigiiteous inquisition^ to give weight to the accusations of 
my enemies, and the enemies of the country: and, having 
collected a monstrous mass of slanders and invectives, to 
implicate my chai'acter, the committee, made their volumi- 
nous report; they, however, adverted to certain papers, 
respecting my tobacco transactions, and insinuated, that 
1 purposely witliheld them, which was true enough; for 
those papers, were the letters of P. Nolan,* of the 6th of 
January, 1796, and Gilbert Leonard, of the 1st of April, 
1797, and my account current with Governor Miro, 
dated January 4th, 1796; all of which were, afterwards, 
submitted to the committee, whereof Mr. Bacon was 
chairman. If those papers, had been presented to the 
committee, of which Mr. Butler was chairman, as they 
went to my complete acquittal of tlie charge of having 
received money from the Spaniards, for corru^jt pur- 
poses, they must have shared tl>e fate of all other excul- 
patory testimony, furnished to tliat conclave; but being 
of vital importance to my honour, the fear of losing 
them prevented their delivery to a board, which had 
treated my appeal to it witli contempt, and had })rostrat- 
cd all the rules of judicial proceedings, had outraged the 
maxims of justice, and had trampled on the guarantees 
of the constitution — to illustrate the conduct of this board, 
I will state a fact; Mr. Root, of the state of New- York, Conduct 
had been a member of it, but disgusted with its arbitrary j^o,',^ ^'^^j 
proceedings, had left his seat; and Mr. John Montgome- Mr. Mont- 
ry, of Maryland, was appointed to suj)ply his j)lace; this '''^" °^ 
gentleman, condemning the injustice of the course^ pur- 
sued by flie committee^ moved, that I should he summon- 

• Sec pa^es 117 f.r.(] 119, of this vol'imf* 
TOi. IT. C 




18 MEMOIRS BY 

C(l to appear before them, and permitted to attend the en- 
quiry, which so deeply concerned me; tins eqiiitable pro- 
position was rejected, and he withdrew also. 
Proceed. ^|'|,(. proceedings of Mr. Newton's committee, were 
mV. New- plausible, but as inuch prejudiced as that of Mr. Butler j 

ton's com- ^jj^y ^\(\ ^^t shut themselves up, nor did they refuse ex- 
inittee. f J 

culpatory testimony, but they, also, treated with silent 

cnitempt my repeated applications for leave to confront 
and cross-examine* the witnesses *< viva voce" and com- 
pelled me to state my interrogatories, in writings before T 
knew to what poiiits the witness could bear testimony^ and 
then rejected such questions as were not ac( eptable. 

Tliere can be no doubt of the fact, that this enquiry 
was instituted, to justify the secretary of war, and con- 
demn me, because, much clamour had been raised by the 



* Extracts of letters /''om General Wilkinson to Thomas JVciaton, cJudr- 
man of a Committee of the House of Representatives, appoitited to en- 
quire into the caitses of the mortality, amonff the troops, on the JVUssis- 
sippi, in the year 1809. 

•' December 26, 1810. 
" I trust the committee, will pardon me for expressing the hope, 
that I m;iy be permitted to confront any testimony, \vl)ich may be of- 
fered to aficct my cliaracter, or conduct, in command." 

"January 12, mi., 
" I beg leave to throw myself on your candour. Sir, and that of the 
committee, for permission to confront and cross-examine, every wit- 
ness who may be called." 

" January 17, 1811. 

*'I will repeat my earnest desire, that T may be permitted to con- 
front and ci'ossexaniine witnesses. I should not reiterate this preten- 
sion, if I was not sustained by a case precisely analogous; it is that 
of the enquiry into the causes of the fadure of the campaign of 1791, 
when General St. Clair, tlie commander in chief, and General Knox, 
the secretary of war, were both allowed seats, and were permitted to 
cull for, and to cross-examine witnesses ; and in this case, it will be 
recollected, that the censure fell on the secretary of wat». For the 
facts, I appeal to the Hon. W'm. Findlay, of Congress, and to General 
St. C;lair, now at Crawford's Inn." 

To these applications no answer was received 



GFNERAL WILKINSON. !<► 

seditious malecontcnts, who had deserted their posts^ on the CHAP. 
Mississippi, in the hour of extremily ; and a sacrifi( c must, 
in such rases, be made, to satisfy the popular discontenls, 
in terroreni to evil doers, and by way of example to those, 
who may survive public odium; it had been comujeucrd, 
sometime before my arrival, and several depositi(»ns had 
been taken, from the paitisans of Hampton, and the se- 
cretary of war, who had sworn through thick and thin, to 
convict me of malcconduct in command. Yet, notwith- 
standing, I was aware of the malicious purposie, and had 
much at liazard, I could but be amused, at the conduct 
of the little, self-impoitant, busy chairman; who, to save 
appearances, constantly pestered me, for written L>ter- 
rogatories, Jor witnssses to be examined, but when uJj.J<^r 
examination, he, with magisterial tone, prescribed wiiat 
was, and what was not, proper; and if a witness crossed 
the line of demarcation, the little animal swelled like a 
toad, and could not conceal his irritation; th(!rc were 
two or three federalists, on this committee, who took 
sullen delight in these scenes, while the democrats, 
excepting a Doctor Crawford, of Pennsylvania, a man 
of head, heart, and honour, bowed assent to the dic- 
tates of the chairman ; on one evening, a member rebel- 
led against the authority of the chairman, and I expect- 
ed a fracas would have ensued, but the difference was 
conciliated after a short squabble. The honourable John 
Roane, of Virginia, a man of virtue, was present on that 
occasion ; the late meritorious, but unfortunate Colonel 
Macaulay, was under examination. 

These enquiries, which had been instituted by my ene- 
Tiiies, to effect my disgrace and ruin, were not terminat- 
ed during the session of 1810, but were reported in their 
unfinished state; and the House of Representatives, for- 
getting the fundamental principles of criminal jurisjjrn- 
dence, forgetting the high and solemn respect, which 
they owed to their constituents, to themselves, and to tiie 
character of their country, to gratify poi-sonal revenge, 
and the malice of a faction, overstepped the ordinary 
barriers of public justice, and personal safety; and 



20 ' MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, sent forth to the world, under the sanction of their aur 

' thority, these proceedings of prejudiced men, to excite the 

passiojis and judgments of the people against a public 

officei', whose life had been devoted to them, and whose 

only fault was that of having served them too faitli- 

fiilly. 

Although the facts, which were notorious, at the time, 
concur with subsequent occurrences, to justify the con- 
clusion, that personal resentments, and angry passions 
had more effect, in producing an enquiry into my con- 
duct, than patriotism, or the public weal, yet, I could have 
excused frailties, which are inseparable from human na- 
ture; but, whilst the enquiry was pending, and before I 
had been allowed an opportunity to vindicate myself: it 
was the sacred duty of the House of Representatives, 
who had undertaken to question my integrity, to pre- 
sume my innocence, until my guilt had been established 
by a competent tribunal ; and to have protected me from 
pnjudice and misrepresentation, until I had been fairly 
tried. That a different course was pursued, and that the 
ruin of an individual should have been anticipated before 
conviction, and sought after, with remorseless zeal, in 
despite of justice, humanity, and the constitution 5 is 
destructive of civil rigl)ts, dangerous to freedom, inju- 
rious to the national character, and disgraceful to its 
authors. 

Though as sensible of my own weakness, as I was of 
the power of the host arrayed against me, conscious in- 
tegrity, and the spirit of independence, which I inhaled 
with the revolution, determined mc not to concede a right 
which I could defend; therefore, on perceiving that my 
note, on the irth of April, to the conclave, at which, Mr. 
Butler presided, was treated with disregard, I determin- 
ed, to appeal to the feelings, and the justice, of the House 
of llcjucsenlativcs, and iiccordingly, ! addressed ujyself 
to the speaker.* But, I found the House as obdurate, 
as its committees ; it was deaf to my claims, and treated 

- See AppciidiA, Xcy. CliXVIII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 2 

my sufferings and supplications witli frigid indifference, chap. 
At length the Congress adjourned, and I concluded that ^' 
the executive, to whom alone 1 was amenable, and who 
possessed the only legitimate power, to try, or to punish 
me, would, necessarily, have taken measures, to release 
me from the afflicting suspense which corroded my be- 
som. If I had offended, the constitution gave me a claim 
to a speedy trial, and by entering the military service, I 
had not forfeited that pretension, because, by the articles 
of war, I was entitled to a hearing within eight days 
after my arrest; tiiere being no obstacle in a time of pro- 
found peace, to prevent the convention of a court mar- 
tial; I flattered myself, also, that the services I liad ren- 
dered to the country, and to Mr. Madison personally,* 
by the suppression of Burr's conspiracy, tlie persecu- 
tion I had suffered, in consequence of those services, 
and the known characters of my enemies, would have 
inclined the chief magistrate to listen to the voice of 
humanity, and accelerate the cause of justice, without 
a day's unnecessary delay. But I was disappointed; 
I had entirely misconceived the character of Presi- 
dent Madison ; I had to learn, that benevolence, gra- 
titude, and sensibility to the wrongs of his fellow-citi- 
zens, or to the obligations of the constitution and the laws, 
when opposed in the balance, to his personal interests 
and occult ambition, would kick the beam ; so obsequious 
was this gentleman to the combination formed against 
me, in the House of Representatives, although, made up 
of an unnatural alliance, of federalists and democrats, 
that he added his influence to the denunciations of that 
body, as far as withholding the civilities of his house, 
and the retraction of all intercourse with me, could pro- 
duce any effect. 

The accusation of a traitor was received by the Pre- 

* It is acknowledged, on all sides, that if I had not opposed Colo- 
nel BiiiT, he would have taken possession of New Orleans, and that a 
civil war would have been the consequence, which would have hurled 
the dominant party from their seats, and Mr. Madison, would never 
have ascendeil the presidential chair. 




^ MEMOIRS BY 

sitlerit, as a good cause for withdrawing his protection 
from me ; and because 1 had been accused, he believed it 
wouhl be most popular to withhold from me tbe protec- 
tion of tbe laws, and leave me to the mercy of an host 
of implacable enemies. Having waited from tlie 4th of 
March, until tbe 24tli of June, without receiving an inti- 
mation of tbe intentions of tbe President, I addressed the 
secretary of war,* and received his answer. 

From this answer, I perceived tbat tbe executive had 
determined to abandon his constitutional authority, and 
to surrender me, to the popular branch of the legisla- 
ture. I conf ss, tlie strengtb of my mind was shaken ; 
but conscious rectitude, an implicit reliance on my Crea- 
tor, an invincible flow of animal spirits, and a firmness 
of resolution, which had supported me, under almost 
every vicissitude of human life, soon restored its elasti- 
city; and the keenest pangs wbich crossed my bosom 
were produced, by tbe absence of tbe honoured object of 
my tcndcrest affections. 1 submitted to tins cruel, and 
unprecedented treatment, with cheerfulness; and pa- 
tiently awaited the assembly of the Congress, to whose 
vengeance I now looked up, with assurance, for that 
relief, which 1 could no longer expect from the sel- 
fish policy, the timidity, and injustice of President Ma- 
dison. 
Congress The Congress met again, in December, 1810, and Mr. 
bles^^and Ncwton resumed his wifinishtd task of vindicating the 
commit- secretary of war; but a total cbange was made in the 
appointed, otlicr commiltee, and honourable men occupied the place 
of Mr. Butler, and his compeers. As soon as tbis board 
was organized, tbe following communicationsj passed 
between tbe chairman and myself. 

At my (irst interview with tbis committee, I discovered 
ft'om tbe fastidious reserve, and lowering aspect of tbe 
members, tbat the poisons, collected by tbeir predeces- 
sors, and disseminated by the House of Representatives, 
had strongly infected their minds : such is the scepticism 

• See Appendix, No. CXXIX. f See Appendix, No. CXXX, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. f^ 

of human judgment, in cases of criminal accusation, chap. 
whiTe the charges are boldly asserted — such the illusions ^ 
to which man is subject, under the bias of his passions — 
and hence, the cruelty and injustice, of anticipating the 
trial, by publications which bear on the case, and are 
calculated to excite prepossessions and prejudgments ; 
yet I was permitted to attend the enquiry, and to avail 
myself of cross-interrogatories ; but the witnesses were 
allowed to render their testimony in writing, and to 
make it up at their leisure; of course, their productions 
were shaped with all the art of professional ingenuity, to 
enforce the allegations brought against me. — On the 
whole, I experienced no illiberality ; and before the in- 
vestigation closed, I have reason to believe, the commit- 
tee were satisfied of my innocence. 

In line, after a tedious enquiry, these committees made Result of 

report to the House of Representatives : — that of which *^^'^ ^"" 
' '■ quines. 

Mr. Bacon was chairman, submitted the testimony with- 
out an opinion; but Mr. Newton had the address, to pre- 
vail on a majority of his associates, in which number 
the honourable Mr. Crawford, of Pennsylvania, must 
not be included, to report an opinion directly at variance 
with simple truth, and in the face of broad facts, set forth 
by my correspondence with the secretary of war, and 
supported by the testimony, of more than twenty re- 
spectable witnesses, spectators of the scenes to w Inch the 
enquiry was professedly directed. To speak of shame to 
such men, would be like speaking of colours to one who 
was boi-n blind. The object of the enquiry w as to de- 
fend Mr. Secretary Eustis's reputation, as war minis- 
ter; and the sapient, candid little Newton, frequently 
observed, when I urged the committee, for an oppor- 
tunity to explain or defend my conduct, " Why, Sir, 
this enquiry has nothing to do with your conduct or cha- 
racter?'* and yet, after calling for my orderly book, the 
daily record of the army, which explained every cir- 
cumstance, and answered every question, he declined 
reporting a single sent'ru e from it. This attempt to 
censio'c me, on false grounds^ and in opposition to the 



24 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, testimonj, produced no other effect, but to expose th© 
^- impotent malicCf or ignorance, or treachery, of its authors- 
p ^ The House of Representatives, exhausted by enqui- 

transmit- rics after what was not to be found ; ashamed to press 
ted to the j^y persecution further; and unable to collect testimony, 
which would justify my condemnation to their consti- 
tuents or to the world; after an expense of many thou- 
sand dollars, transferred the mass of documents, which 
they had been two years collecting, to the President of 
the United States, and again adjourned. 

My condition now became almost hopeless, as the 
President's circumspection kept pace with the approach 
of the election. A year had elapsed, since my recal 
from command; committee upon committee had been 
raised, to investigate my conduct, and yet no result had 
been produced; my situation began to attract public at- 
tention, and excite sympatby ; the question forced itself, 
on the mind of every man : If he is guilty, why not con- 
demn him ? if innocent, why not acquit him? — The Pre- 
sident laboured for a resolution; on one hand justice ex- 
acted it, on the other popular fears forbade it. — In the 
mean time, several propositions were made to me, from 
the secretary of war, thi'ough an old meritorious brother 
officer; the most prominent and distinct of which was, 
" that I should return to my family on the Mississippi, and 
wait there the further pleasure of the House of Repfesenta- 
tiveSf without the resumption of my command." This I 
spurned with indignation, informing the secretary, by 
General Lee, *< that sooner than consent to such degrada^ 
tion, I would hare my bosom to the fire of a platoon." 

Things continued in this state, until the 13th of May, 
1811, when I received the following note from the secre- 
tai'y of war. 

** Monday, May 13th, 1811. 
«« The secretary of war, wishes to have an interview, 
with General Wilkinson, and asks the favour, of his 
calling at tlie office, to-morrow at 11 o'clock, or at sucli 
other hour as mav be convenient." 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S5 

The circumstances wliich followed the receipt of tliis enAP. 
note, cannot he so satisfactorily explained, as by a quota- ^ 
tion from a letter written at the time of these transac- |„,^,.^,^^ 
tinns, wliich was not intended for the public eye, and wi;h Uie 
therefore I shall offer no excuse for the carelessness of ^^'^^^fj*'^ 
the style ; the defects must be compensated by the fidelity 
of tiic details. 



" Washington, May 23cl, 1811. 

" Tbe documents in No. 1, will give you some idea of the doimrs in 
my case, but 1o understand all, you must submit to a tedious explana- 
tion. In consequence of the note of the Ijlh, I called on the secre- 
tary, for the first time since November; but previously saw my friends 

' and , who assured me, I stood acquitted uf all suspicion 

or censure by the President, and the cabinet, on the score of Burr's con- 
spiracy, and the Spanish pension. Mr. Euslis received me with great 
cordiality, and pressed my hand, until it almost ached; he ope-.ied the 
subject by saymg, he had been ordered by the President, to have a 
communication with me, and had preferred that mode, as the most 
convenient, and least troublesome. I replied, " that I preferred the re- 
cord, but -was content" He then proceeded, "the President felt for 
my situation, very sensibly, and felt every disposition, to do me jus- 
tice; that on the score of the Burr business, I stood perfectly acquitted, 
and in relation to the Spanish business, he -was also satisfied; but submit- 
ted to me, whether it might not be expedient, to fall on some plan, to 
clear up the information, contained in EUicott's letter, to Mr. Picker- 
ing in 1798, from Darling's Creek, and the intercepted letter of Gaya- 
SO; but, that this -vas a mere suggestion, Tvhichhe offered to my considirra- 
tion" but, continued the secretary, "the papers of the committee, 
respecting the mortality of the troops on the Jllississippi, have not been 
submitted to the President, and he thinks, something should be done on 
that subject) to satisfy the public mind, vindicate your character, and jus- 
tify his conduct; he knows he cannot, constitutionally, bring you before 
a military tribunal, but thinks the affair should take that course, and 
that he should have the sentence of a general court martial to justify 
bis conduct." I Gould but express my surprise, and friinkly observ- 
ed, "why. Sir, I believe the public mind perfectly satisfied on this 
point, and that but one opinion prevails. Certain 1 am that a great 
majority of both houses of Congress, have acquitted me in toto, of a 
shadow of blame ; you, howtvei-, know. Sir, that 1 have been always 
desirous to meet a military investigation, and 1 shall now cheer'ully 
wave the privilege of my rank, to accommodate the desires of tiie 
President." He then observed, the trial must he IkuI on the .Missis- 
sippi, but I shewed him the difKculty of forming a court there, urged 

VOL. U. D 



26 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, the del^y which must attend it, and protested against ^n\nc; to that 
'• country, * hile Hampton commanded there, as he had allied himself 

^'•^'■"''"^^ to Darin;! Clurk, and had made attempts lo procure testimony against 
me ; thai a phirality of the officers, svho served at Terre aux Hoeufs, 
were now on the Atlantic, a- d that, but for these circumstances, no- 
thing- could be more agreeable to me, than to have my trial on the 
Mississippi He appeared to acquiesce, yet, seemed undetermined, 
as to the course to be pursued, or the expediency, of having any en- 
guirt/ at all; lie said, however, that he would let me know, the Presi- 
dent's-resolution, and we parted. I discovered, that he was averse 
to a Judicial enquiry, and I could but pity the POOH PRESIDENT, 
who is weighinii; in the scales of polndarity, the destiny of the very 
man, whom he is now to judge for tlie very act which made him 
PRESIDENT. I am assured, he thinks me innocent andinjured, and 
yet he is afraid to do so,- but if he thought otherwise of me, and pos- 
sessed proofs to support him, he would blast me, without a moment's 
coinpunction. 

" Seeing that the enquiry, however unmerited and disgraceful, must 
eventuate to my honour, I determined to press it, and therefore wrote 
the letters No. 2 and 3;* and on the 18lh, I had a second interview, 
at which the secretary honoiired me, with professions of friendship, 
and expressed an abhorrence of his situation, which obliged him lo 
become my accuser, and thought the charges could be reduced to avery 
narrow compass; I wished them extended as far as possible; he ap- 
proved the idea, of observing the utmost delicacy in the procedure, 
said the officers should be ordered to Fort M'Henry, without saying 
a word of the court, until they were convened, and that then I mis^ht 
surrender my sword. He wished to see the proceedings of the com- 
mitters, pretending he had not examined them, in order to know how 
to shape the charges, and call his testimony, which I agreed to pro 
cure for him, and I thought the preliminaries fixed, when he observ- 
ed, " b^ God.' I belic-6e it toill do no g'oody and I think the thing should he 
settled at the White House." I expressed a desire for the court, but 
observed, " / sought justice only, and 'mas regardless of modes.'" We 
again parted, and the next morning I sent him, the last proceedings 
of the committees, wlfuh he could not have read in a day, yet, early 
the next morning he sent mc No. 4, to which I hastily replied by No. 
5, and here we stand, though I have taken care to send him the first 
report, and have just now added the note No. 6. — you must imderstand 
that in all these proceedings, he has enjoined perfect silence, and 
therefore jovi can only look at them and give me j'our advice. 

"In this situation, what shall and what ought to be done? iMr. Ma- 
dison is restrained from rendering me justice, by fiars of his popu- 
larity, and Eustis wishes to condemn me and acquit himself of blame, 
for the incidents of the canpaign on the Mississippi; his desire to 

" See Appendix, No. CXXXI. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^7 

transfer the trial to New Orleans, is, I foresee, to get rid of it altoge- CHAP. 

ther, because on every question which may arise there, reference I- 

must be made to the President, and thus the enquiry may become '^^^^"'^^ 

endless; expecting- to be provided for elsewhere, I am confident his Corrts- 

great desire is to prevent a decision until he may ffet away. He f^"" "*i®^ 

ot ihe 21st 
wishes then, doubtless, to disarm nie, that he may easily effect his q^- jyj 

purpose. What do you tliink of the detection in the instructions to 
M'Cullough ? yet, hear in mind that whde Eustis is secretary of war 
and has the ordering of the court, the .judge advocate, &c. he will 
have a great advantage over me. If tlie tiial oe ordered for New Or- 
leans, I foresee it can never be brought to a conclusion, and therefore 
I will appeal to the President in opposition to it. The secrelury of 

the tells me Mr. Madisoii feels for my .'situation most sincerely, 

and is desirous to do me full honour, but fe.irs the popular sentiment 
—cannot you suy something to give him confidence! Hampton is pub- 
licly and avowedly Clark's advocate. He persecutes every oiB;er 
friendly to me and who despises Clark. He arrested PIKE, on the 
day he issued the enclosed order — was there ever such an order ! 
Is it possible such scenes of dishonour and disgrace can be permitted ? 
but indeed there seems to be an apathy in relation to personal wrongs 
—my own injuries quicken my sensibilities for those of another." 



Tiie preceding extracts liave been carefully copied from 
my letter of the 23d of May, and furnish a faithful re- 
cord of what passed between the secretary of war and 
myself, in the interval which followed his note of the 13th. 
Anotlicr painful pause ensued, and President Madison, 
continued his deliberations on my fate and fortunes, 
lintil the 1st of June, on which day, after tlie lapse of 
eighteen niontlis, he discovered that it would be best for 
me and safest to himself, to refer my case to a general 
court martial, and accordingly he transmitted me the no- 
tification contained in the secretary of war's letter* un- 
der that date. This extraordinary letter, after all that 
had been professed by tlie secretary of w^ar, so far ame- 
liorated my sufferings, as to indicate the ** course deemed 
most p'oper to be p\irsuedy^ but without limitation of time 
or designation .of place, and, it will be seen, without sin- 
cerity of purpose, but, with an insidious reservation for 
the introducti(»n "o/" sjccjL testimony as is jwssessed hy the 

* See Appendix, No. CXXXII. 



g8 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, cxeculivc, to which of course maif he adiUd, siich other evi- 
^ deuce as may be proper to be adduced,'^ thus placing the 
enquiry on grounds as broad as the ocean and as preca- 
rious as the seasons. 

I claim the attention of the candid reader to a con- 
densed view of the cofisistency of the chief magistrate. 
On the 24tU of November, 1809, he informed me by his 
secretary of war, D»ctor Eustis, that I might ^^rest as- 
sured of a disposition in the executive, to shield me from 
persecution, and to afford me every aid in my exertions to 
assert and maintain the uprightness of my character and 
conduct.^' But let us enquire how the conduct of Pre- 
sident Madison corresponded with these sf)lemn assu- 
rances ? He had on the rumours of my enemies, without 
a specific charges,^' degraded me from my command on 
the Mississippi — he had refused me a professional en- 
quiry, guaranteed by the constitution and the laws — he 
had proscribed me the civilities of his table, to which it 
is notorious public worth and private virtue have not been 
exclusive passports — he had surrendered me to a preju- 
diced and impassioned popular assembly, from whose 
maledictions I had escaped, after being stretched on a 
bed of torture, for more than a year, because testimony 
could not be found to condemn me — the immense volume 
of criminatory testimony, collected by t!»e elaborate scru- 
tiny of a military tribunal, and by four committees of the 
House of Repjesentatives, during two successive sessions 
of Congress, had been before him since <♦ the 29th of Fe- 
hrnary,'' — three of his ministers had assured me that he 
was " satisfied of my innocence in relation to Burr''s con- 
spiracif and the Spanish pension,'' — and the evidence pro- 
duced on the malicious enquiry into the caiises of tht 
mortality among the troops on the Mississippi, had vindi- 
cated my judgment, my humanity and integrity — yet, 
the conscientious President, after his pledge « to shield 
me from persccntion,-" after the secretary of war had ex- 
pressed his belief tiiat *« the charges could be reduced to a 
very narrow compass," and .after eigliteen mojith's siis- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. §9 

pension from command, deemed it expedient to make me chap. 
account to a general court martial, not only for the mor- *' 
tality among the troops on the Mississippi, but deter- 
mined that it was advisable also to widen the ground of 
crimination, so as to take in tlie calumnies of Messrs. 
Clark, Power and Rand(dph, concerning Burros conspi- 
racy and the Spanish pension, although satisfied of my in- 
nocence on those points. 

However unexpected the proposition, it was accepta- 
ble, because it promised a termination of my persecu- 
tions, and I joined issue most heartily. Fort M<Henry 
in the first instance was agreed on, for the assembly of 
the court 5 but, a fevy days after, this place was objected 
to, on the ground, as the secretary of war expressed him- 
self to me, of ray having « too many friends in Baltimore i" 
and because the good people of tliat city were deemed too 
friendly to me, the meeting of the court was ordered at 
Fredericktown, where, it was believed, the inhabitants 
were hostile* to me. It had been my misfortune to be 
compelled, in self defence, to expose to a committee of 
Congress, tlie incapacity and misconduct of Mr. Se- 
cretary Eustis ; the « luirmony of the cabinet" required 
that the minister should be supported, and agreeably to 
the doctrine of Lord Bute, « the more corrupt, the more 
firmly," The President must never recede, unless to fa- 
vour his personal interests or promote those of his parti- 
sans. The range of my accusations were therefore ex- 
tended, in the hope some faint blemisli might be attached 
to my conduct, which would enable the executive to raise 
a mist and excite prejudices, to obscure the real merits of 
the respective public servants, and screen the minister at 
the expense of tlie general ; and yet we are told Mr. Ma- 
dison, is a man of benevolence, candour, independence 
and justice ; as well might one attempt to reconcile meek- 
ness to malignity, treachery to trutli, magnanimity to 
meanness, and vice to virtue, as to accredit these attri- 
butes of President Madison. 

* See teslimony of Captain MTherson, page 457- 




30 MEMOIRS BY 

The insincerity of tliis communication of the 1st of 
June is manifest; for notwithstanding the avowed pur- 
pose of the President, it is obvious he had not made ]»is 
final (lotermination, because the secretary, Doctor Eus- 
tis, waited oti me the 11th, ten days after, and proposed 
that I should " return home j'orlhivith, there to wait fur- 
ther 07'ders, luitil the ensidng session of Congress should 
pass overt tvhen in case that bodij did not RE-STIR my 
affair, I should he reinstated in my comvia7id,"* What a 
shameless proposition! by which my guilt f or my inno- 
cence, was to be tested, not by the a'rquittal of the court 
of ewquii'y, and the approbation of President Jefferson, 
nor tlie testimony whirh had been amassed by the inqui- 
sitorial committees of Congress, nor yet by President 
Madison, to whom those volumes of testimony had been 
submitted, and who only was authorised to decide on 
tbcui — but by the caprice of tlie House of Representa- 
tives. Can a parallel case be found in t!ie history of a 
nation pretending to a government of laws ?f 

If I had proceeded to New Orleans, and the affair had 
not been " re-stirred," by thfe House of Representatives, 
then the secretary would escape censure, my innocence- 
would be admitted, and I was to be <« restored to my com- 
mand;-* but if during my absence at New Orleans, the 
aij'air should have been « re-stirred," by Congress, then 
indeed, it might become necessary, to sacrifice me, for 
the expiation of the secretary's sins ; because, every 
body, and every thing must be sacrificed, « to the harmony 
of the cabinet;" and the chief magistrate, who could thus 
sacrifice, the solemn duties of his station to his personal 

* See my letter to him, pag'e 32. 

■|- If the chief magistrate beheved me puilty, was it not his duly to 
bring me to trial? if assured of my imiocence, was he not bound to 
Bcquit me? But Mr. Madison proposed a compromise, by which it 
might have happened, that the merits or demerits of my conduct, 
could liave had no influence on tlie decision : and tluis i' is lie would 
commute public justice and personal rights, for popularity and the 
presidential salary. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 31 

policy^ who could dispense with the injunctions of tlic chap. 
constitution^ and, to preserve his popiilaritiff could calmly 
abandon a faithful officer, v^ho looked to h\m for jjrotectionf 
and whom he was hound to protect; would have made no 
hesitation, on an intimation from the popular branch of 
the legislature, to condemn the man wlmse innocence he 
acknowledged, and dismiss me from service, without a 
hearing. An impartial review of these measures, and 
those which have ensued, will dissipate every doubt, and 
President Madison's character will no longer continue 
enigmatical. The annals of the world, though amply 
stored with follies and cruelties, do not exhibit a more 
striking instance of imbecility and injustice, in the chief 
magistrate of a nation. 

The proposition made to me, by the secretary of w^ar, Proposi- 
on the 11th June, was renewed by the agency of General se°cretary 
Lee, on the 14th, with the additional accommodation of of war. 
«« a public vessel to convey me to JVV'w Orleans,'* which 
was also declined, as will be perceived by my correspon- 
dence,^ wherein my anxiety for a trial, is as clearly de- 

* " Washington, Jitne 7th, IQW. 

" Sip, 

"This is the fifth day) since our last interview, and I have lieard 
nothing further of the institution of the tribunal, which I so anxious- 
ly desire. Pardon, then, this intrusion from one whose mind is ago- 
nising under the tortures of suspense. 

" It is long since I supplicated a trial by my peers, but a deaf ear 
was turned to my supplication. At length the President of the United 
States, to whose decision I have been taught to look, for the termi- 
nation of my calamities, has been pleased to resort to a court martial, 
and the chief obstacle to the formation, and assembly of the tribunal, 
is, 1 am led to believe, the specification of a suitable place for its 
meeting; that of my selection does not meet your approbation. Take 
then. Sip, the spot of your preference, and I shall be content ; all I 
ask is, ihat not one moment of unnecessary delay may be permitted 
to prevent the assembling of the court, and prosecution of ihe trial, 
to a conclusion. This, my only request, is small, when compared 
with the extent of my sufferings, and the ills which accompany tliem 
Jt will not, I trust, be denied me, because I think it should not : and 
it interests the justice, and the honour of the government, to release 



3S MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, monstrated, as the repugnance of my persecutors to such 
^ appeal. 
Conduct ^ ''^^^ ^y ^^^^ interview with the secretary of war, on 
of the Pre- the lith of May, and the second,- on the 18th; when a 

sjdent and 
the sec re - 

tar)' of me from the persecutions, by which I am oppressed, compared to 
war. which, the xmrighteoua execution of ADMIRAL BYNG vias surely ten- 

der mercy. 

" Respectfully, I am. Sir, 

" Your most obedient servant, 
(Signed) "JAMES WILKINSON. 

*• The 'Hon. William Eustis, Secretary of fVar." 

" Washington, June 12th, 1811. 

^' The free conversation which passed between us yesterday, on 
my interesting subject, when you did me the honour to call at my 
lodgings, has occupied my mind ever since. 

" If the nicest circumspedion be deemed necessary on the part of 
the executive, to the justification of his conduct, with what trembling 
caution, does it behove me to proceed ; — He, the favourite of the nu. 
tlon, standing on the high ground of judxiul independence, is liable 
to be inculpated for a failure of judgment only ; while 1, degraded, 
depressed, and impoverished — after reiterated trials, — after tliree 
years of persecution, unexampled in modern times, and disgraceful 
to the country of my birth, — am still exposed to the arts, and frauds 
of an host of enemies; who pursue me with insatiate vengeance, and 
with falsehood on their tongues, and corruption in their hands, are 
ever on the watch, to take advantage of circumstances, and to misin- 
terpret them to my injury. 

"In this situation, a hard one indeed! where the accuser and the 
judge* hazards nothing, but the good name and character of the ac- 
cused are endangered, candid men wili pardon mi, 1 hope, for dis- 
pensing with ordinary forms, in favour of essential matter; and ex- 
posing to you, without reserve, the alternatives to which I shall be 
content to submit. 

" Next to the maintenance of my own honour, dearer to me than 
life, I seriously wlsii an avoidance of enibarrassment to the executive. 
This disposition, and your suggestion of a former proposition, "that 
J should return home forihiuith, there to -wait further orders, until the en- 
abling session of Congress shoidd pass over, when, in case that body did 
'.not RF,-ETIR my afftdr, I slwuld be reinstated in my command," led to 
my substitution of a course, some wliat similar to that suggested by 
you, and wliich you appeared to think, might still be realised, to save 
the expense and derangements attending a general court martial; 

* The President and Secretarv of War. 



1. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 33 

court martial was determined on, yet such was the wa- chap. 
vering indecision, and the timid irresolution of the Presi- 
dent and his minister, such the researches necessary, to 



and above all, the endless investigation of a subject, whicli must al- 
ready have cost the pul)lic, more than an hundred thousand dolhiis. 

" To prevent miscouception, I will now repeat what I then pro- 
posed, being anxious to save useless deliberationsj and the unneces- 
sary consumption of your time, and to put an end to uiy long pend- 
ing persecutions. My proposition imported, that as lam desirous to 
decline the resumption of the command on the Mississippi, in order 
to devote my time to my private affairs, you should instruct me to 
return to the southern department, and after having made such ar- 
rangements for the commandants of posts as would place tliem un- 
der the immediate direction of the war department, to retire from 
further attention to the command, and dispose of myself at my dis- 
cretion, subject to future orders ; but thai I should be entitled, in 
all other respects, to the appurtenances of my rank ; and that Briga- 
dier-general Hampton, for causes yesterday assigned to you, should not 
be permitted to resume the command, and more particularly, because 
his attentions are necessary to his command on the Atlantic coast ; 
and I am expressly informed, in my letter of recal, " that he ivas to 
take command of the troops in my absence." 

" But preferring, always, a general court martial, to satisfy the 
breast of the executive and the world, of my innocence, my honour, 
and the barbarian treatment I have experienced; I must still flatter 
myself, that the court may be assembled, at some suitable place, as 
speedily as possible; and that the proceedings may be brought to a 
conclusion, with all the promptitude which is due to justice, and 
may comport with the solemnity of the occasion : yet, should the hor- 
rible delay of six or twelve months, as you, yesterday, suggested, be 
necessarily involved in the proceedings of the court; then, I hope, it 
may be deemed compatible with my hoiiour, should I prefer the first 
proposition: because my wasting life, my long sufferings, my feelings, 
my interests, and my family, all require it. This modification of ^our 
ideas, is, I conceive, due to humanity and to justice; and it is in- 
dispensable to protect my name against the malignant aspersions, to 
which it has been exposed, from my disregard of con.sequences, in 
my honest zeal to uphold my country, and those who administered 
its government. 

" Permit me to add a few words more : It is now upwards of three 
jnontha, since my fate tuas placed in the hands of the President, and 
it is nearly one month, since your first proposition, respecting a gene- 
ral court martial, was made to me; yet, the order for the court has 
not been issued, nor have the charges, on which 1 may be tried, been 
exhibited to me. If, then, this course should be finally adopted, I 

vot. H. E 



31) MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, accumulate matter for crimination, notwithstanding the 



I. 



President's pi-ofessed disposition, « to shield mcfrom jier- 
secutioiif^* and his continued <« ivish to consult my conve- 

hope I shall not be considered unreasonable, for again pressing the 
nomination, and assembly of the court, tog-ether with the exhibition 
of the charges, and a list of witnesses, should this be deemed proper. 
•' llespecifully, I am. Sir, 

•' Your obedieRt servant, 
(Signed) "JAMES WILKINSON. 

*' Hon. William Eustis, Secretary of fVar.'" 

" TVav Department, June Htk, 1811. 
'•Sir, 

"I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 
the 12lh instant. Having considered the subject in all its relations, 
and more especially as you prefer it, I am of opinion, that the refer- 
ence to a court martial is ihe only proper course remaining to be 
pursued. Your desire to have the court assembled, as seon as possi- 
ble, is reciprocated ; and as I have had the honour to inform you, is 
in a train of execution. The time, indispensably necessary to pro- 
cure the testimony, which is presumed to be in New Orleans, or in 
the Mississippi, is the only time which will intervene. To collect 
and transmit ihis testimony, will require two or ihree months; but 
as the court will be employed, some considerable time, in examining 
the printed documents, they will be ordered to assemble at Frede- 
vicktown, in Maryland, on the first Monday in September next, un- 
less a later day shall, at your request, and to meet your convenience, 
be assigned 

"As it is the continued wish of the executive, to consult your personai 
convenience, as far as circumstances, and a sense of duty will permit, 
I am instructed to inform you, that your continuance at the seat of 
government is not deemed necessary, and that, until the meeting of 
the court, the place nf your residence may be selected, as your own incli- 
nation may suggest. 

"I am, with respect, Sir, 

" Your most obedient servant* 
(Signed) " W. EUSTIS, 

" Brigadier -general James Wilkinson.'" 

" Washington, June 14th, 1811. 
" S\r, 

"I am honoured by your favour of this morning, and, although I 
wished an earlier day, for the convention of the court, I am sincerely 
thankful it has been fixed for the nearest period, reconcileable to the 
course adopted for the conduct of the prosecution. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 35 

nience," that it was not until, tlie 7tli of July, fifty days, CHAP, 
that I received the voluminous and elaborate charges ^' 
which had been prepared and digested for my trial, and 
were enclosed to me, in the following letter, from Walter 
Jones esq., judge advocate for the occasion. 

'( Washington, July 7th, 1811. 
** Sir, 

« I am requested, by the secretary of war, to transmit 
to you a copy of tiie charges to be exhibited against you 
before the general court martial, about to assemble at 
Fredericktown, on the first Monday in September next, 
by order of the President. You will find the same in- 
closed, accordingly, together with a list of the witnesses 
on behalf of the prosecution. 

«« J have tije honour to be. Sir, 
<'W. JONES, JuN. 

" Officiating as Judge Mvocate. 
** Brigadier-general Wilkinson." 

Charge I. — That the said James Wilkinson, while in the military 
service, and holding the commission of" Brigadier-general, in the ar- 
my of the United States, did corruptly stipulate to receive, and, by 
virtue of such stipulation, did actually receive, by vi-ay of pension, or 
stipend, divers sums of money, from the officers, and agents, of a fo- 
reign power ; that is to say, from the Spanish officers and agents, 
concerned in the administration of the late provincial government 
of Louisiana and its dependencies, for the intent and purpose of com- 
bining and co-operating with that power, in designs adverse to the 



"I cannot, sufficiently, express my sense of gratitude /or the proposed 
accommodation* communicated to me, from you, by Gtiieral Lee; but 
I fear I shall not be able to avail myself of the Presidential kindness, in 
this instance, as I can never approach the honoured object of my af' 
fection in an equivocal character. 

" With respect, I have the honour to be, 
*' Sir, your obedient servant, 
(Signed) "JAMES WILKINSON. 

" Hon. William Eustis, Secretary of War." 

* A public vessel to convey me lo New Orleans 



36 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, laws and policy, and hostile to the peace, interest, and union of these 
1- states; contrary to his duty and allegiance as an officer and a citizen, 

"•i^"^'"'^^ Specif cntiun 1 Two mule loads of money, (the amount unknown) 

beins^ received at New Orleans, by one Joseph Ballinger, for the use, 
and by the authority, of him, the said James Wilkinson, on account 
of the said pension, and delivered by the hands of one John Ballinger, 
to him, the said James Wilkinson, at Frankfort, Kentucky, some time 
in the month of December, 1789. 

Specijicaiion 2. — Two other rrnile, or horse, loads of money, (the 
amount unknown) being received by him, the said James Wilkinson, 
assisted by one Philip Nolan, at New Orleans, some time in the au- 
tumn of the year 17S9, also on account of the said pension. 

Specification 3. — Four tiiousand dollars and upwards, being' receiv- 
ed hy one La Cassagne, at New Orleans, some time in the year 1793, 
or in the year 1794, for the use, and by the authority, of him, the said 
James Wilkinson, also on accoimtof the said pension. 

Specif cation 4. — Six thousand dollars, being received by one Henry 
Owen, at New Orleans, some time in the summer of ihe year 1794, 
for the use, and by the autliority, of him, the said James Wilkinson, 
also on account of the said pension. 

Specif cation 5. — Six thousand dollars and upwards, that is to say, 
from six thousand three hundred and thirty-three, to eleven thousand 
dollars, or thereabouts, being received by one Joseph Collins, at New 
Orleans, some time in the summer of the year 1795, for the use, and 
by the authority, of him, the said James Wilkinson, also on account 
of the said pension. 

Sl)ecif cation 6. — Six thousand five hundred and ninety dollars, be- 
ing received for the use, and by the authority, of him, tlie said James 
Wilkinson, at New Orleans, by some person unknown, some time prior 
to the date of a letter, from the said James Wilkinson, to one John 
Adair ; in which letter, dated the 7th of August, 1795, the receipt of 
that sum is mentioned, also on account of said pension. 

Specification 7. — Nine thousand six hundred and forty dollars, being 
sent by the Baron de Carondelet, Governor-general of Louisiana, from 
New Orleans, some time in titc montli of January, 1796, and by his 
direction, deposited at New Madrid, for the use, and subject to the 
order, of him, the said James Wilkinson; and afterwards, some time 
in the summer of 1796, taken by one Thomas Power, from New Ma- 
drid to f.,ouisvilIe, and by him delivered over to one Pliilip Nolan, by 
tlie direction and auiliority, and for tlie use, of him, the said James 
Wilkinson, also on account of the said pension; he, the said Power, 
retaining, out of the said sum of money, six hundred and forty dol- 
lai's, for defr;iying his expenses, and receiving tiie instructions of him, 
the said James Wilkinson, to secure for him the reimbursement of the 
same, from the Spanish government. 

Specification 8. — Ten thousand dollars, or thereabouts, being re 
ceived by him, the said James Wilkinson, at New Oilcans, some time 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 37 

between the 7th of December, 1803, and the 21st of April, 1804, also CHAP, 
on account of the said pension. I- 

Specification 9. — He, the said James Wilkinson, (in consideration of Vi^'V^.*' 
having so corruptly engaged himself with the Spanish government) 
receiving at divers other places, as yet unknown, and on divers other 
days, and times, between the first day of January, in the year 1789, 
and the 2lst of April, in the year 1804, by divers secret ways and 
means, a pension, stipend, or gratuity, from the officers and agents of 
that government. 

Specification 10. — He, the said James Wilkinson, did, some time in 
the month of October, in the year 1789, at the camp, at Lofturs' 
Heights, in a secret conference there with one Daniel Clark, set up a 
claim to ten thousand dollars, as a balance due him, the said James 
Wilkinson, from the Spanish government, on account of his pension, 
or stipend; and did, then and there, request the said Daniel Clark, to 
propose to the Spanish Governor Gayoso, that the latter should, in 
consideration of the said balance of ten thousand dollars, due to the 
said James Wilkinson, from the Spanish treasury, transfer to him the 
said James Wilkinson, a plantation near the Natchez, then belonging 
to the said Gayoso. 

Charge II. — That he, the said James Wilkinson, while in the mili- 
tary service, and holding the commission of Brigadier-general, in the 
army of the United States, did combine, and confederate himself, 
with (he officers and agents of a foreign power : that is to say, with 
the Spanish officers and agents, concerned in the administration of 
the lale provincial government of Louisiana, for the purpose of de- 
vising and carrying into effect, certain pernicious and treasonable 
projects for the dismembermi nt of the United States, and for an un- 
lawful and treasonable confederacy between certain dismembered 
portions of the United States and the said foreign power; and, for 
that purpose and intent, did hold divers secret consultations, and 
carry on secret and treasonable correspondences with certain officers, 
agents, and emissaries, of that power, contrary to his duty and alle- 
giance as an officer, and a citizen. 

Specification 1. — He, the said James Wilkinson, in pursuance, and 
in execution of his said unlawful plot and confederacy, did, some 
time in the months of October and November, in the year 1795, at 
Cincinnati, carry on a treasonable correspondence, with the Spanish 
governors, the Baron de Carondelet and Don Manuel Gayoso de Le- 
mos, touching the execution of the said unlawful plot and confedera- 
cy, which correspondence was carried on, by means of a certain emis- 
sary, employed by the said Governor Gayoso, named Thomas Power; 
and did, at the same time, direct the said Thomas Power, to luy cer- 
tain observations, verbally before the said Governor Gayoso, and the 
Baron de Carondelet, calculated to arrange and settle a plan for con- 
tinuing a secret and unlawful correspondence between him, the said 
James Wilkinson, and the Spanish officers, and agent=, in the pre- 



38 MEMOIRS BY 

CHA.P, vince of Louisiana; and for secretly preparing the means necessary to 

I- ti)e execution of the said unlawful plot and confederacy. 

^i^"^'''^"' Specification 2. — He, the said James Wilkinson, in pursiiance of hia 
said unlawful plot and confederacy, and in continuation of his said un- 
lawful and treasonable correspondence, on or about the 22d day of 
September, in the year 1796, did send from Fort Washington, a cer- 
tain letter in cypher, addressed to the said Governor Gayoso, for the 
purpose of further devising ways and means, to conceal the treasona- 
ble correspondence, and confederacy between him, the said James 
Wilkinson, and the Spanish officers, and agents, in Louisiana, and 
further to advise, and devise, ways and means, to execute the unlaw- 
ful objects of the same. 

Specification 3 — He, the said James Wilkinson, in pursuance of his 
said unlawful plot and confederacy, and in continuation of his said 
unlawful and treasonable correspondence, did causei and procure his 
confidential agent, Philip Nolan, to write certain instructions to the 
said emissary, Thomas Power, for the prudential government of his, 
the said Thomas Power's, conduct in performing the part assigned 
him in the said plot and confederacy, and for the purpose of regulat- 
ing the said Thomas Power's proceedings therein, so as to guard him 
against detection or mistake. 

Specification 4. — He, the said James Wilkinson, on divers days and 
times, in the years 1795, 1796, and 1797, t Frankfort, at Cincinnati, 
at Greenville, at Detroit, and at Fort Washington, did hold divers se- 
cret and unlavvful conferences, and consultations, with the Spanish 
emissary, Thomas Power, both by day and by night, for the purpose 
of advising, and devising, the means of executing his said unlawful 
plot and confederacy. 

Specification 5. — He, the said James Wilkinson, at divers other days 
and times, between the 1st day of January, 1789, and the 21st day of 
April, in the year 1804, at divers places in the United States, and at 
New Orleans, and divers other places in the province of Louisianaj 
did, in pursuance of the said plot and confederacy, and in further 
continuation of the said unlawful correspondence, hold, and carry on, 
divers other secret, unlawful, and treasonable conferences, correspon- 
dences, and consultations, with the said Thomas Power, with one Gil- 
berto Leonard, Andres Armesto, the Baron de Garondelet, and Gover- 
nor Gayoso, all officers, or agents, of the provincial government of 
Louisiana, and with divers other confederates, as yet unknown, engag- 
ed ou behalf of the said government. 

CnAR(;r. IH. — That he, the said James Wilkinson, while command- 
ing tiie army of the United States, by virtue of his said commissioi; 
of Brigadier-general, lid combine, and confederate himself with 
known traitors, or with those known to be conspiring treason against 
the United States; with intent to promote and advance the consum. 
mation of such treason, or conspiracy of treason, contrary to his duty 
and allegiance as an officer, and a citizen. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 39 

specification. — He, the said James Wilkinson, combining and con- CHAP. 
federating- with one Aaron Burr, and his associates and coadjutors, in I- 

the years 1805 and 1806, in a certain treasonable conspiracy, to dis- Vi^-v^.,' 
member the United States, by effecting' a separation and division of 
the states, and territories, west of the Alleghany, from those to the 
east, and to set up a separate and independent empire, to be compos- 
ed of such western states and territories. 

Charge IV. — That he, the said James Wilkinson, while command- 
ing the army of the United States, by virtue of his said commission 
of brigadier-general, and being bound by the duties of his office, and 
by his fidelity as a citizen, to do all that in him lay, to discover and 
frustrate all treasons, and conspiracies against the United States, did, 
nevertheless, connive at, and permit conspiracies of treason, and did 
encourage and abet the same, by his countenance, as commander of 
the army. 

Specificatio7i. — He, the said James Wilkinson, in the years 1805 and 
1806, receiving from the said Aaron Burr, and his associates, confi- 
dential communications of their treasonable designs, and permitting 
their solicitations of his active co-operation in their treason, without 
his making any timely discovery of their pernicious designs. 

Charge V. — That he, the said James Wilkinson, while command- 
ing the army of the United States, by virtue of his said commission, 
and being bound by the duties of his office, to do all that in him lay, 
to discover and to frustrate, all such enormous violations of the law 
as tended to endanger the peace and tranquillity of the United States, 
did, nevertheless, unlawfully combine and conspire, to set on foot a 
military expedition, against the territories of a nation, then at peace 
with the United States. 

Specif cation. — He, the said James Wilkinson, in the years 1805 and 
1806, combining and conspiring, with Aaron Burr and his associates, 
to set on foot a military expedition, against the Spanish provinces and 
territories in America. 

Charge VI. — Disobedience of orders. 

Specification. — In that the said Brigadier-general James Wilkinson, 
being then in command of the troops assembled at New Orleans, was, 
by written orders and instructions from the war department, dated, 
April 30th, 1809, required and directed to give the necessary orders, 
for the immediate removal of said troops, to the high ground in the 
rear of Fort Adams, and to the high ground in the rear of Natchez, 
in the Mississippi territory, referring to his discretion, to occupy 
those stations respectively, with such portion of the troops, as he 
should judge most convenient and proper; which order and instruc- 
tions, the said General Wilkinson, wholly neglected and refused to 
obey, and did thereafterwards, in the month of June following, cause 
said troops to be removed in a contrary direction, to a station, called 
Terre aux Boeufs, below New Orleans, at which station he formed an 
encampment, and remained until the month of September following. 



40 MEMOIRS. 

CHAP. CHAReE VII.— Neglect of duty. 



I. 



Specification 1. — In that the said General Wilkinson, permitted bad 
' and unwholesome provisions to be issued to, and consumed by, the 
troops ui-der his command, during the summer and autumn of 1809, 
and did not exercise the right of commanding officer, in respect to 
the execution of the contract, made by James Morrison with the war 
department, for supplying provisions, as provided in the 2d, 4th, and 
5th, articles nf said contract. 

Specification 2. — In not selecting, previous to the removal of the 
troops, to the Mississippi territory, in September, 1809, and in not 
leaving at the hospital, in New Orleans, under the care of proper offi- 
cers and physicians, such of the sick and convalescent, as could not 
be removed, without manifest and increased danger of their lives, and 
in so distributing the men in tlte transpor's, when removing, as to in- 
commode and endanger both the sick and well, thereby disregarding 
and defeating the primary object of the order for removal. 

Specification 3. — In not ordering the military agent at New Orleans, 
to make the necessary advances of money, to the brigade and regi- 
mental quarter-masters, and in not giving orders for the troops to re- 
ceive their pay, clothing, medicines, and hospital stores, which were 
in readiness for them, in New Orleans, at the time of their ascending 
the river, in September, 1809. 

Charge VIII. — Misapplication and waste of public money and sup- 
plies. 

Specification l.—In that the said General Wilkinson, in May, 1805, 
ordered the assistant military agent at Pittsburgh, to pay for the 
transportation of his private property from Baltimore, out of the pub- 
lic money, " and place the same to the account of public transporta- 
tion for military service.'' 

Specification 2. — In halting a detachment of the army, at Louisville, 
Kentucky, in February, 1809, consisting of several companies, which 
detachment was descending the Ohio in transports, and in then and 
there detaining said detachment, to take on board ten horses, the 
private property of said General Wilkinson, which horses were trans- 
ported in public boats to New Orleans, by his order, and were fed at 
public expense for several months. 

Specification 3. — In authorising certificates to be annexed to the 
provision abstracts of the army contractor, to enable the contractor to 
receive from government, the full price of good and wholesome pro- 
visions, when it was well known to the said General Wilkinson, that 
a great portion of the provisions, comprised in those abstracts, so 
passed in the summer and autumn of 1809, were unmerchantable and 
unfit for use. 

To these charj^es T pleaded NOT GUILTY. The trial 
proceeded, and at its conclusion, I offered the folio wine; 
defence. 



CHAPTER IT. 

Exordium. — Complication of accusations. — JFide range of 
testimomj. — Extraordinary nature of the summons is- 
sued to the witnesses for the prosecution, by order of 
James Madison, President of the United States. — Remarks 
on Daniel Clark^s non-altendance.—Thomas Power^s ar- 
rival, and introduction to the Court- — His scandalous de- 
portment. — The sinister combination and hypocrisy cf John 
Randolph and Daniel Clark detected and exposed.- — Inte- 
resting letters of Clark to Power, read in cvidmce and 
ivithdrawn, but returned by order of the Court. 

MR. PRESIDENT, AND GENTLEMEN OF THE COURT, 

In entering upon the defence, which it has become chap. 
my duty to submit to the honest and intelligent judg- ^'^• 
ment of this court, it is not my design to exhibit any 
unnecessary display of those poignant emotions which 
the occasion is calculated to excite. If, in the honoura- 
able profession of arms, to which the better part of my 
life has been devoted — if, in that profession, which 
should be equally " above fear and above reproach," 
I am not indeed sunk below all sense of the common 
value at which fame and character are held in this 
life — if, there is not something peculiarly foul in the 
very nature of a long course of military service, which 
should render me entirely destitute of the ordinary feel- 
ings of a man — it will not create surprise, that I should 
appear before you fraught with indignation, and in 
some degree impatient of the humiliating task, to whicli 
I find myself reduced, of examining and repelling the 
gross and accumulated charges under which I have 
been arraigned. But, gentlemen, the purposes of a fair 

VOL. II. F 



4j^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAr. and just vindication will require no other support thai; 
'^' that wliich is derived from the inherent strength of truth 
itself; and, therefore, instead of weakening that support, 
by intemperate reflections, it will be my endeavour, as 
I feel it M ill be my interest, to devclope and apply the 
testimony in its natural force, unobscured by passion ; 
and to present to you a connected view of the serious 
and important matters involved in this enquiry. 

Of tlic testimony which has been exhibited against me 
v>n the part of the prosecution, it is proper it should be 
here distinctly understood, that it comprises all the 
EVIDENCE OF EVERY SPECIES, vvliich has been hereto- 
fore adduced by my accusers, public and private ; — 
that all the sources of information having been appealed 
to and invited, and a conclusive and a complete enquirj 
into my case having been announced, by the reference 
made to the President of the United States, under a 
resolution of the house of re]>rescntatives, before the 
close of the lust session of Congress ; that the Piiesident 
liaving fuj'thcr referred this enquiry to the considera- 
( ion of a General Couii; Martial, by an order dated the 
!5th of June, 1811; this court itself having been three 
months in session, and it having been generally known, 
two or three months before it assembled, that I was once 
more to be put upon my trial. Under these circum- 
stances, in addition to the combined labours and rancor- 
ous perseverance witli which my fame has been })ur- 
sued, a most ample opportunity lias been afforde^l, for 
Hie malignity of my enemies to exhaust itself from every 
quartei', in the production of all the proofs on which they 
have relied, or wliich it has been even pretended were in 
existence, for the purpose of sustaining their accusations 
and establishing my guilt: I may, therefore, be allowed 
to hope — nay, gentlemen, you must not think it strange 
that I should most fervently implore Heaven — ^if there is 
ever to be an end to the tedious anxieties and lingering 
tortures of suspense which I suffer, that my doom, whe- 
ther unfavourable or propitious, may be linally deter- 
mined by the result of your decision. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 43 

All the ex parte evidence collected and produced, in chap. 
four several reports of committees of Congress ; all the *^ 
evidence material to this issue, contained in the report of 
colonel Bui'r's trial, which accompanied the President's 
message to Congress upon that subject, on the £2d of Ja- 
nuary 1808; all the testimony, wi'itten and parole, pro- 
duced before the court of enquiry which investigated my 
character and conduct three years since; and all the 
formidable evidence, which the influence and indefatiga- 
ble industry of one of my chief adversaries and most dis- 
tinguished accusers* has been able to fabricate or pro- 
cui'e : all this monstrous mass of written and printed 
documents, beside a variety of original depositions, and 
the examination of an host of witnesses, in the course of 
the present trial, has been offered and received in evi-. 
dence before this court, in support of the multiform 
charges and specifications under which I have been ar- 
raigned. It is true, that a few of those persons, who 
may be deemed principal witnesses to prove some of the 
most heinous of the offences alleged against me, and 
especially Mr. Clark himself, have failed to attend this 
court ; and it is not improbable that the malicious inge- 
nuity of prejudice, may construe their non-attendance 
into the presumption, that, if they had attended, it would 
have been in tlieir power to have furnislied strong proofs 
of my guilt. But it is proper it should be known, that 
a long list of the witnesses against me was made out as 
soon as the court was ordered ; that this list has, from 
time to time, been enlarged; that subpoenas were imme- 
diately issued by the judge advocate, and seasonable 
measures taken to have tliem forwarded and served, on 
all the witnesses, whose names have been in any manner 
connected with the subject of this prosecution; that a 
schedule v,as annexed to tiie subpoenas, particularly di- 
recting the attention of the witnesses, to the discovery 
and production of all the documents, papers, and vouch- 
ers, and every material point to be enquired into, touch- 

* Mr. Daniel Clark, of New Orleans. 



44 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, ing the charges against me, of being a Spanish pensioner 
^^" and a conspirator with Aaron Burr; — and, moreover, 
Mr. President, that the form of those subpcenas, as 
adopted for this occasion, and signed by the judge advo- 
cate, is conceived in the following liberal and specific 
terms, viz. 

« The President of the United States having ordered 
R general court martial for the trial of brigadier general 
Wilkinson; and it being suggested that your evidence 
will be material in the case, and that you have in your 
jjossession, or tvithin your power or conb'oid, certain papers 
or written evidences^ tending either directly to the proof, or 
to corroborate or explain some of the evidence of certain 
facts necessary or material to support the charges, or 
some of them, upon which general Wilkinson is arrested ; 
I am, therefore, authorised and directed to s^unmon you to 
appear, as a witness on behalf of the United States in that 
case, before the general court martial, on Monday, the 2d 
day of September next, at Fredericktown, in the State of 
Maryland, and to bring with you all the papers, docu- 
ments, and written evidences, mentioned or alluded to in 
the annexed schedule, or such of them as are in your 
possession, power or controul, touching any correspond- 
ence, intercourse, or connexion, of the said general Wil- 
kinson, with the colonial governmejit of Louisiana, or 
with any department, officer or agent of that government, 
or touching any I'cceipt of monc}^ by the said general 
Wilkinson, eitlier directly or indirectly, from the said 
government, or any department, officer or agent of the 
same, by way of pension, trade, commerce, or otherwise; 
also, touchiiig any plan, device, or intention, on the part 
of the said general Wilkinson, to co-operate Avith the 
said government; or with any department, officer, agent 
or adherent of the same: or with one Aaron Burr, or 
with any adherent or conspirator with said Burr, in any 
enterprise, plot or treason ; taking care in all cases to 
bring with you the originals, if in your power — otlier- 
wise, the most authentic, best attested, avd most ancient 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 45 

cotiEs of the samCf that you can procure. Should any un- cfiap. 
avoidable or insuperable obstacle prevent your coming ^^' 
on by the time appointed, you will nevertheless proceed 
witli the utmost expedition to arrive at the place appoint- 
ed, as soon after as you can 5 and upon receipt hereof 
you will notify me at Washington whether there be any 
sucli obstacle to your appearance by the day appointed, 
and by what day it will be possible for you to attend. 

*' / am farther authorised to assure you, that the rea- 
sonable expenses of your journey to and at the place of 
trial, and back again, will be defrayed by the United 
States. Fou will also be allon^ed a reasonable compeat- 

SATIOlSr FOR COLLECTING OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS RELAT- 
ING TO THE CASE. 

(Signed) " W. JONES, 

" Acting Judge AdvocatCi 

« SCHEDULE, 

C Referred to in the annexed Summons. J 

<• 1. The original letter in cypher from general Wil 
kinson to governor Gayoso, dated 22d September, 1796, 
marked G. G. and published in the report made on the 
1st May, 1810, by the committee of congress appointed 
to enquire into the conduct of general Wilkinson ; or, (if 
such original cannot be found) any document to shew 
what has become of it, and how and from whence the 
certified copy in said report was obtained. 

« 2. The despatch fi-om governor Gayoso to general 
Wilkinson, referred to in Thomas Power's letter to the 
baron de Carondelet, of the 4th June, 1797, (No. 40.) 
publisiied in said report. 

" 3. The original drauglit, whether in writing or in 
cypher, of tlie observations which T. Power was directed 
by general Wilkinson to lay before Carondelet and 
Gayoso, as detailed in Power's affidavit, (No. 34.) pub- 
lished in said report. 

" 4. The original and identical letters from Thomas 
Power, as the same were received by the several persons 
addressed, viz.--lst. To the baron de Carondelet, under 



46 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, the several dates of 21st or 27th June, 1796, 3(1 January, 
"■ 9th May, ami 4th June, 1797— 2dly, To governor Gayo- 
so, under the several dates of 27th June, 1796, 3d Janu- 
ary, and 5th December, 1797 — 3dly. To Don Tliomas 
Portell, dated 27th June, 1796 ; all published in said re- 
port under the several numbers 20, 22, 36, 40, 21, 23, 
43, 15 — 4thly, To Don Andrew Armesto, dated 4th June, 
1797, referred to and identified by T. Power, in his affi- 
davit sworn to on the 18th March, 1809, as published in 
said report, page 55. 

« 5. The original and identical letters addressed to 
Thomas Power, as the same were by him received from 
the following persons: viz. — 1st. From the baron de Ca- 
rondelet, under the several dates of 23d April, 26th and 
28th May, 1797— 2dly, From Don Thomas Portell, dated 
27th June, 1797 — 3dly, From general AVilkinson, under 
tbe several dates of 25th May, 1796, and 5th September, 
1797; all published in said report, under the several 
numbers 44, 37, 38, 16, 70, 42 — and 4thly, From gover- 
nor Gayoso, dated 23d October, 1798, referred to by An- 
drew Ellicott, as having been seen by him in the begin- 
ning of November, 1798; see his deposition, (No. 19.) 
published in said report. 

«• 6. The original of the baron de Carondelet*s instruc- 
tions to Portell, dated 20th January, 1796, (No. 14.) in 
said report. 

'« 7. All the correspondence that can be procured of 
Thomas Power, the baron de Carondclet, governors 
Gayoso and Miro, Gilbeit Leonard, general Wilkinson, 
Philip Nolan, or of any department, officer, agent or 
emissary of the Spanish colonial government of Loui- 
siana, whether between themselves or with others, in any 
manner relating to the intercourse, transactions and 
connexion, whether political or commercial, between 
general Wilkinson and the said government, or any de- 
partment, officer, emissary or agent of the same, or re- 
lating to any intrigue carried on by the said govern- 
ment, its officers, emissaries or agents, with any other 
citizen or citizens of the United States, supposed to be 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^ 

united or co-operating with general Wilkinson, in any CHAP. 
of the illicit schemes imputed to him. ''■ 

<• 8. Any additional copy or copies of all or any of 
the papers, letters and correspondence ;in the foregoing 
schedule above mentioned and alluded to, purporting to 
have been taken from the originals j especially such co- 
pies, decypherings, translations, as are the most ancient 
and best authenticated, and such copies, decypherings 
and translations as can be sliewn to have been in the 
hands of the person or persons to whom the originals 
were respectively addressed, or to have been filed or de- 
posited in or produced from any department of the said 
government, any record or official cabinet, or any officer 
or agent of the said government, particularly any such 
copies, decypherings and translations of any of the let- 
ters or papers originally written or signed by general 
Wilkinson. 

*< 9. Any transcripts that can be procured of the ori- 
ginal cypher, supposed to have been used in the said let- 
ters and papers, or any of them. 

*< 10. The original letter from governor Gayoso to 
Daniel Clark, dated 17th June, 1796. 

« 11. Any letters or papers, no matter of what de- 
scription, in the hand- writing either of governors Gay- 
oso, Miro, or Carondelet; of Thomes Poitell, Gilbert 
Leonard, or Philip Nolan, which may serve to identify 
the hand-writing of those persons by a comparison of 
hands. 

«« 12. Any copy or copies, the most anciently taken 
and the best attested, of a paper in said report, (No. S5.^ 
supposed to be instructions from general Wilkinson to 
Thomas Power, in the hand-WTiting of Philip Nolan. 

« 13. The receipt given by general Wilkinson to John 
Ballinger, referred to in Ballinger's affidavit, (No. 5.) 
published in said report. 

" 14. The original account books of Daniel Clark of 
New Orleans, deceased — of Daniel Clark, now of New 
Orleans— of Clark and Rees, and of Gilbeit Leonard, to- 
gether with all other accounts, vouchers, and docunjents 
whatsoever, of those persons or any of thcni, in so far as 



48 . MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, the same relate, in any degree, to the dealings and tran- 
''' sactions of general AVilkinson ill Louisiana, cither di- 
rectly or through the agency of any other person. 

« 15. The key to the cypher used in the correspond- 
ence of the officers, agents or emissaries of the Spanish 
government of Louisiana, as well among themselves as 
with genei'al Wilkinson ajul any other j)erson — upon any 
matter relating to the said general Wilkinson, or to the 
United States of America. 

' " Lastly. — Tht witness, in his research for or produc- 
tion of papers, will not consider himself as limited to those 
specif ed or alluded to in the schedule, but is nevertheless 
t?> pay the utmost attention to the general requisition ex- 
pressed in the summons." 

List of witnesses in behalf of the prosecution, summoned by 

the judge advocate. 
Daniel Clark Captain George Peter 

Thomas Power Major John Darrington 

John Ballinger Col. Alexander Parker 

Evan Jones Lt. Col. Homer Virgil Milton 

Francis Langlois Captain James Gibson 

Dominique Bouligny Major Robert C. Nicholas 

William Miller Captain James Bankhcad 

Andrew EllicotI Lieut. Mann. P. Lomax 

Elislia Winters Dr. W. Upshaw 

James M. Bradford William Simmons 

Isaac Briggs Captain Wiiifield Scott 

Thomas P(nttll Lieut. Simeon Knight 

Josepli Collins James B. Swearingen 

Daniel W. Coxe Major Amos Stoddert 

John Adair Robert B. Taylor 

John M*Donough Littleton W. Tazewell 

Major James Bruff John Graham. 

Lieut. Col. Electus Backus 

The witnesses examined in behalf of the United States 
against Aaron Burr, and Herman Blennerhassett, and 
Jonathan Dayton, at Richmond ; the evidence of which 
witnesses is communicated by the President of the Unit- 
ed States, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 49 

Among the number of witnesses thus summoned, imme- chap. 
diate and particular pains were taken to secure the at- ^^• 
tendance of Daniel Clark, by transmitting the process 
to New Orleans, his place of residence, and hastening a 
duplicate thereof to Philadelpliia, where it was known he 
had recently been on a visits yet, notwithstanding the 
extraordinary lapse of time, it is not alleged that any 
obstacle, or any matter of excuse whatever, has existed, 
to prevent his attending to the notice, although it is cer- 
tain he received it. It is also proper it should be known, 
that althougli this witness and some others of the same 
stamp, have not ventured to attend in person, their de- 
positions, and accompanying documents, have all been 
read in evidence ; and that the prosecution, at tiiis time, 
has had the full benefit of all the information, which tliose 
witnesses have heretofore affected to possess, and all the 
statements which they have rendered upon former occa- 
sions. 

Of this mass of adverse testimony, to which I have 
alluded, there can be no doubt, a very rtinsiderable 
proportion is objectionable, Bnt. hai'ing been coslept- 
ed together, and promu'gatexi to the world, undor the 
sanction of the popular branch of the Congress of the 
United States, however cheap its cirjoilatioji niifijht have, 
been held under other circumstances, i have thought 
it but respectful to the representatives of the people, 
to agree, that all this body of evidence, reported by 
their committees, should be received here at its intrin- 
sic value, although it would impose upon me the neces- 
sity of exhibiting the credit of this evidence, at a very 
depreciated rate. 

I mean not to detain you long, gentlemen, in inquiring 
what are the motives which have deterred some of the 
witnesses against me from attending, or why it is, that 
the honourable Mr. Clark himself has not, on this occa- 
sion, dared to meet the object of his insatiate hatred and 
malevolence ; to confront the man whose character he 
has laboured to blast ; to come here, and submit, face to 
face, to a cross-examination in a trial conducted, as this 

VOL. II. G 



50 MEMOIRS Bl 

CHAP, has been, in tiie public view, before a tribunal of inipar- 
'^' tial, indcpcnilcnt and upright J iidgcs. Under what spe- 
cious and flimsy evasion will he and his partisans be pre- 
pared to explain to the public, or by what insulting claim 
of superior privilege,* is it next to be accounted for. 
that Mr. Clark has not obeyed the usual and formal pro 
cess, which so many other witnesses, both civil and mili- 
tary, some of them from his own vicinity, have not fail- 
ed to comply with? Why is it that, instead of skulking 
out of view, lie has not embraced this free and inviting 
opportunity, to corroborate and make good his allega- 
tions against uk, in the eyes of the country, and to res- 
cue his own name from tbe imputation of being a vile 
AND iNPAMous DEPAMER? Why is he not present to see, 
that justice is not cheated of its victim, and that a great 
state criminal, such as he has represented me to be, may 
not contrive to screen himself from condign punishment? 
Whither has fled all the mock patriotism and fortitude of 
this public-spirited informer? and wliat has become of 
those principles aVid feelings by which he was instigated, 
to leijd his ?ikl, in p^csv'ming mc before the grand inquest 
fit' the nation? Why is tne tall of his country disobeyed; 
anc? all the sacred obligations fii duty and character ne- 
glected iui(i Sft- ai ho'jght. that should have urged him 
to follow up a irrosesu-tio/i, which he bad been actively 
engaged in exciting? It is also to be noted, that Mr. 
Clark himself, or (as we have been since informed by 
one of hisf coadjutors) some other persons, under the 
authority of Mr. Clark's immaculate name, " have 

* Mr. Clark resisted the summons of the court of enquiry, held at 
the seat of" government, in 1808, on the grotand of its incompetency, 
although he was in congress at ihe time, and present. 

-{- Daniel W. Coxe, a witness for the prosecution, on his examin:*.- 
lion in 1811, before a committee of the House of Representatives, ap- 
pointed to scrutinise the character and conduct of general Wilkinson, 
of which Mr. Bacon was chairman, acknowledged that the book given 
to the public by Daniel Clurk, and styled " Proofs of the corruption 
of general James Wilkinson, and of his connexion with Aaron Burr,'" 
" was written in Philadelphia by himself, and two others," whom the 
committee did not think proper he should name. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 51 

a wsiTTEN A BOOK :" wlicrc is its reputed author at this CHAP, 
exigent moment ? Why is he not at hand to prove that '^ 
this book is not an atrocious and pestilent libel, and that 
he has not sinned " in bearing false witness against his 
neighbour?" 

I appear before you, gentlemen, a prisoner at your bar, 
charged with high crimes and misdemeanours, and I look 
around in vain for the redoubtable accuser, to whom it 
lias been cl)iefly owing that 1 am placed in tliis degraded 
situation : did Mr. Clark imagine, that tlie anxiety of 
the public woidd be sufficiently satisfied, by his sending 
forward to this spot, a more desperate instrument of ven- 
geance and venality? Did he expect to elude further ob- 
servation, and secure the oblivion of his own turpitude, 
in the more notorious debasement and obdurate iniquity 
of Thomas Power? 

It w ill be remembered that, after having scrutinised 

and thoroughly investigated all the testimony produced, 

and relied on by the court and the prisoner, this tribunal 

adjourned on the 6th of November, to meet again on the 

lith, for the purpose of hearing my defence; and that, by 

further adjournment, the court having assembled on the 

15th, I was then called upon by the president, to know if 

I was ready to proceed in my defence. But on the even- Thomas 

ing of the lith of November, Thomas Power had unex- ^^"^^^"T^ 

/. 1 . 1 • arrival, 

pectedly arrived at this place, of which circumstance I and his 
was apprised the next mornins;, a few minutes before the ^*^'"'^^.'*^'^ 

3iS 3f Wit- 

court assembled. When called upon by you, Mr. Presi-ness for 
dent, as already remarked, although I should otherwise *^K P*"®^^' 

•' ' o ciition. 

have offered myself as instantly ready to proceed, I con- His dis- 
ceived it incumbent upon me to address the court with all §^'"^^^"3 
the earnestness I could, to beseech them (that nothing 
might be left for cavil) to rescind their former resolu- 
tion, whicli would have precluded the introduction of 
Powei-'s testimony at that late period ; to hear any thing 
and every thing whicli tliis man might be prepaied to 
offer, and also to admit the evidence of another witness 
for the prosecution, recently arrived ; I mean colonel 
Ballcngcr, to whom I ought to apologise for accidentally 



53 MEMOIRS BY 

GHAP. mentioning his nanne in the same breath, after the very 
_||^ ^ honourable and candid manner in which his testimony 
has been delivered to you. The court was pleased to 
assent to ray request ; Thomas Power made his ai)pear- 
ancc, and was fairly and fully heard. The particular 
points of his examination, which I believe occupied four 
days of your attention, will be incidentally noticed in a 
subsequent part of this defence; but I cannot refrain 
from adverting to the shocking depravity, which his 
manner and whole deportment, as a witness, has betray- 
ed to the public view, and the furious, undisguised, dia- 
bolical malignity with which his purposes have been ex- 
pressed. Addressing himself to me, on the very first 
day of his introduction to your presence, out of his own 
lips, gentlemen, the malice of his heart has been pro- 
nounced ; you have heard him declare tiiat he must 
"STAB OR BE STABBED,*" and, in a laboured attempt to 
palliate his own manifold and scandalous contradictions 
of himself, you have heard him confess, that he came 
forward, to use his own words, « full of animosity, 
« FULL OF INDIGNATION," and he seemed determined to 
go the lengths which Mr. Clark had proposed to him. 
The insi- Before I enter, Mr. President, into a particular dis- 

dious cussion of the two first chareres, and their numerous spe- 

manner in , . 

which cifications, imputing to me a long, continued, corrupt. 

if^^d*^! h '^"^ illicit connexion with the Spanish government, I 
and Clark must observe, that, as the introduction into congress of 
brought ^ijjg ii^atter of enquiry, was the entering wedge or ground 
Congiess work for all the other enquiries, from whence an enor- 
charses "^'^"^ ^^^^ "^ obloquy has since grown, until it has been 
against at last shaped into its present legal form and pressure, 
Wilkinson, under many diversified charges and specifications ; it 
may not be improper to advert to tlie manner, in which 
the first great subject of accusation was originally com- 
municated to the house of representatives. It sometimes 
happens that as much, and perhaps more, may be de- 
duced from the manner in which a witness swears, as 
from the matter which he relates; and it is on that ac- 
count peculiarly to be regretted, that Daniel Clark should 



GENERAL WILKINSON. QB 

jnot have found it convenient to appear before this court, chap. 
With respect to the manner in which this subject was "• 
ushered into congress, I have in my possession an extract 
from the printed report of that day^s proceeding, which 
is fully confirmed by the evidence that has been given to 
this court by general Nelson, who was at the time a re- 
presentative in congress from Maryland. It is not ne- 
cessary to go into a minute detail ; but the court will ob- 
serve, that Mr. John Randolph, from Virginia, (who 
made himself my prosecutor) in his speech introductory 
to the resolution which he brought forward, for an en- 
quiry into this subject, on the 31st of December, 1807, 
(after reading several documents which will be noticed 
hereafter) stated to the house " that he had good cause 
«* to believe, that there was a member of their body, who 
<' had it in his power, if the authority of the house were 
'< exercised upon him, if he were coerced, to give the house 
« much more full, important, and damning evidence, than 
" that which had already appeared .' He alluded to the gen- 
<« tleman from JVert? Orleans, Mr, Clark, whom he had the 
*' pleasure to see in his seat.'' Mr. Clark, it seems, was 
not in his seat when Mr. Randolph commenced his speech, 
but he came in before the motion was concluded, and, 
according to the printed report, he rose and addressed 
the Speaker to the following effect. 

Mr. Clark said, that " he unexpectedly heard himself 
« named, and he would observe, that it had been long sup- 
« posed, from his residence in Louisiana, his acquaintance 
t' with military officers, and the various means ofinforma- 
*i tion which he might have possessed while consul at JVew 
« Orleans, that he was acquainted with certain transactions 
" which had taken place in that country. The knowledge 
f( which he had possessed he had endeavoured to impart to 
*< the admiyiistration at different times, both verbally, and 
*' by a written coiTCspondence, to which a deaf ear had 
** been turned, ^s this information had not been attended 
*' to, he had refused to gratify curiosity on the subject, and, 
" notwithstanding the gentleman's calling upon him, he felt 
'( himself bound to say, that he would not be iitfliienced by 



54 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. **feau favour, or affection^ to give amj iiiformation on the 
^^' " subject, except compelled bij a resolution of the house." 
In regard to the latter part of Mr. Clark's statement, I 
shall dismiss it by observing-, that it was directly and 
publicly contradicted by the president of the United 
States, in his message to congress of the 20th of Janu- 
ary, 1808; and 1 shall make no other comment on it, 
than to remark, that as Mr. Clark declared, he had en- 
deavoured to impart to the administration his knowledge 
of certain transactions in Louisiana, (meaning my corrupt 
transactions with Spain) to which a deaf ear had been 
turned, and that this endeavour on his part, had been 
made at different times, both verbally »< and by a written 
"correspondence," it is soDiewhat singular that he should 
not have preserved any copy of tliat coi'iespondence, or 
that he should not yet have exhibited to the public any 
testimony to coi'rob«rate his statement. 

Such, however, was the substance of Mr. Clark's grave 
and formal addi-ess; and, as general Nelson has empha- 
tically represented to this court, " every body would have 
•* concluded, from Mr. Clark's manner, that the call on him 
•» by Mr. Randolph, was unexpected, and that he did not 
♦• think himself well treated by it." General Nelson is po- 
fiitive that Mr. Clark did expressly state that it was 
*' unexpected to him." 

To prove, gentlemen, the errant falsehood and despi- 
cable artifice Mr. Clark practised against me, in the very 
introduction to these charges — ^to show you, that, instead 
of being unexpected or unwelcome to him, the part he 
was " CALLED upon" to act, in the opening of this insi- 
dious plot, against the happiness and honour of a soldier's 
life, had been all deliberately preconcerted, and probably 
conned over in his memory; — and to aiVord you a strik- 
ing illustration of the mischievous and dishonourable 
duplicity, the sly, dexterous imposture, in which this 
squeamish witness, and his higii-minded prompter, Mr. 
John Randolph, have shewn themselves such capable and 
accomplished actors, and of which I was to be the un- 
suspecting, ill-fated sacrifice, it would be sufKcient for 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 55 

me to refer you to the deposition of Robert Goodloe Har- CHAP. 
per, esq. taken on the part of the prosecution, which will ^^• 
he found at larsre in the third report of the committee of . , 

o y \ glance 

congress. From Mr. Harper's answers* to the 9th and at kobert 

Goodloe 

* Extract from the deposition of Robert Goodloe Harper, esq. See f'^'"?^'' ^ 
... „ . „ ,, , . testimony, 

third report ot committee or congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page j,^ j^g ^n- 

137. plication 

Question by general Wilkinson, No. 9. — " Had you any knowledge to his 

" of the documents delivered by John Randolph, esq. to the house of ^'S^l^.^^^T' 

" delegates of the Congress, calculated to criminate general Wilkin- jj^^ Clark 

" son for an illicit connexion with the Spanish government, previous 

" to (heir exhibition by Mr. Randolph, and know you from whom Mr, 

" Randolph received those documents ?" 

Answer. — " After the trial (of col. Burr at Richmond), he (Thomas 

" Power) passed through Baltimore, on his way to Philadelphia, and 

" called on me, to deliver a letter of introduction from a gentleman 

" in New Orleans, not Mr. Clark. I asked him to dine with me, in a 

" family way, and he came. During the dinner he told me that gene- 

" ral Wilkinson had violated a solemn engagement with him, by pub- 

" lishing a certificate obtained from him, under a promise that it 

"should be communicated to no one but the President; that this 

" certificate was given at the most earnest solicitation of general Wil- 

" kinson, and to enable him to satisfy the mind of the President; that 

" the publication of it, at a time when general Wilkjnson knew that 

" he (Power) was summoned as a witness in Burr's trial, was calcu- 

" lated to injure the reputation of him (Power), by holding him up 

" as a person who had certified one thing, and was ready to testify an- 

" other; that for the justification of his conduct, and the support of 

" his character, he was determined to publish the whole affair, with 

** documents in his possession to support his statement, if he could 

" procure the permission of the marquis de Casa Yrujo ; and that he 

" was going to Philadelphia for the purpose of obtaining such per- 

" mission^ Having conceived a very ill opinion of general Wilkinson's 

" public and political integrity, from the facts and circumstances 

" wWch had then become public, I took some pains to obtain from 

** Power all the information that I could, respecting these transac- 

" tions between general Wilkinson and the Spaniards. But he would 

" state nothing more particular than is above related. 

" I some time afterwards learned, not from Mr. Clark, but from a 

" gentleman with whom we were both intimate, that Power had not 

" been able to obtain the desired permission from the late Spanish 

" minister; but had left his papers, v/ith a narrative in writing of the 

" whole transaction, in the possession of Mr. Clark, with permission 

" to use them as he might think proper. I never spoke to Mr. Clark 

" respecting those doruments and narrative ; but I told the gentleman 

" whs communicated the matter to me, that as Mr. Clark was now a 



56 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, last interrogatories, it is sufficiently dear, that Mr. Clark, 
"j^ in stating to the house that tlie appeal made to him by 
Mr. Randolph was unexpected, did in fact state what tlic 
circumstances do necessarily contradict and disprove ; 
for that the documents, read by Mr. Randolph, had been 
furnished by Thomas Power to Daniel Clark; and that 
Clark himself had advisedly and purposely delivered 
them to Mr. Randolph : so that in affecting a fastidious 
reluctance and surprise at being called upon to give fur- 
ther information to Congress, it must be evident that 
Mr. Clark was guiity of a scandalous deception ; and in 
declaring the call upon him to be *« unexpected," he was 
guilty of a flagrant and wilful falsehood, to which John 
Randolph was an accessary. But there is no longer the 
least necessity for drawing inferences of this nature from 

" representative of the people, and general Wilkinson in a situation 
" where treachery and corruption might prove in the highest degree 
" detrimental to the public interest, I thought it Mr. Clark's duty to 
" make the matter known to Congress, so that an enquiry might be in- 
" stituted into general Wilkinson's conduct. I did not then know the 
" particular nature of thedocumenls, nor that Mr. Clark had himself 
" any knowledge of general Wilkinson's pecuniary transactions with 
" the Spanish government. This gentleman, however, then informed 
" me, that Mr. Clark had much knowledge of this kind, but did not 
" state the particulars. I added, tliac if Mr. Clark thought it best, he 
" might make the communication through Mr. Randolph, but that it 
" was my decided opinion, that it was his duty to make it, in some 
" way or other ; and I authorised and requested that gentleman to 
" state this to Mr. Clark as my opinion and advice. This the gentle- 
" man afterwards informed me that he had done, immediately after 
♦• his return to Washington, where Mr. Clark then was. I heard no- 
" thing more of the matter till I received from Mr. Lloyd, of this state, 
" a copy of Mr. Clark's first communication ; nor did I ever see the 
" documents till they appeared in print. 

" I believe that Mr. Clark delivered the documents to Mr. Randolph, 
" and that he did so in consequence of my advice and persuasion." 

Being asked by general Wilkinson — " Who the gentleman was, that 
" is alluded to in his answer to the 9th interrogatory ?" He answers, 
" It was Richard Reynale Keene, esq. formerly of New Orleans, and 
" now in Cuba. I received from him the information of Mr. Clark's 
"knowledge and possession, of the documents in question, and it 
" was through him that I communicated the advice to Mr. Clark, as 
" stated in my answer to the 9th cross-interrogatory." 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 57 

any extrinsic evidence, since the court is now in posses- CHAr. 
sion of the confessions of the party himself in his own '"• 
hand writing, written a few days after the e^-ent occur- 
red, disclosing to one of the confederates, all the mo- 
tives, circumstances and objects, of my denunciation on 
the floor of Congress. You will at once perceive, gen- 
tlemen, that I allude to the two letters from Daniel Clark 
to Thomas Power, dated from the city of Washington 
the 2d and 9th January, 1808. These letters, you will 
recollect, were produced by Power at the close of his 
long examination before this court. In labouring to re- 
concile and gloss over the vile and contradictory part, 
which he himself has been employed to act. Power had 
alleged that the papers which he left with Clark, and 
which Clark had delivered to Randolph, were thus 

MADE USE OF, CONTRARY TO HIS EXPRESS STIPUXATION 

WITH Mr. Clark : and in proof of this, when asked by 
the judge advocate if he had any documents in his pos- 
session to the point, he produced and laid upon your 
table the two letters just mentioned. In the disorderly 
attempt which he immediately afterwards made, to with- 
draw the letters from the custody of the court, it became 
necessary for me to apply for your interference, Mr. 
President, and they were restored in obedience to your 
order. I shall be excused for inserting copies of them 
at full length in this part of my defence, because they 
will not only unveil the abominable motives by which 
this prosecution was originally impelled, but they will 
also point to those iniquitous and detestable means by 
which my ruin was to be accomplished. 

" Washingtoiif 2d January y 1 808. 
«< My dear Friend, 

a The die is cast, and Wilkinson is accused before 
the House of Representatives ; or rather, Randolph has 
brouglit forward a resolution to have an enquiry made 
into his conduct, which must end in disgrace and shame. 
The business originated thus : Wilkinson, after a consi- 

VOL. ir. n 



58 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, tierable lapse of time, challenged Raiulolpli on the 29th 
'^' of last month. Randolph refused to meet him, on the 
principle that Wilkinson had degraded himself, and that 
he (Randolph) would not descend to "Wilkinson's level. 
Wilkinson immediately posted Randolph^ and the whole 
party in Congress, which lias consUaitly iippro\ed the 
presidential measures, seemed to glory on the occasion, 
and could not contain their triumpli. Things had now 
come to a crisis : Randolph or Wilkinson must fall ; and 
if the former, every thing and every one would have 
been borne down by the latter, and his patriotifun even 
would have been blazoned in letters of gold. It would 
ever after have been in vain to have entertained a thought 
of self defence against such a giant. There was I thought 
but one remedy, and that was a desperate one. I had 
hitherto retained in my possession, your address to the 
public respecting the general, which it became, as you 
know yourself, incumbent to publish for your own justi- 
fication; and I put it into Randolph's hands with two 
other papers of those you had committed to me, neither 
of which, however, appears, by any thing on the face of 
them, ever to have been in ijonr possession. They are, 
first, a copy of Wilkinson's cyphered letter to governor 
Gayoso, and secondly, a copy of a letter from the baron 
de Carondelet to Portcll respecting the transmission of 
the S9640 to him for Wilkinson's account. These two 
papers became absolutely and essentially necessary to 
support your own statement, and with thi^ view only did 
I put them in Randolph's hands. He then brought them 
forward, and stated to the house that a member of it 
could give more damning information — I was named — 
I rose; but conscious that any thing I should then sa\ 
would pass merely as a speech, and would be subject to 
the same cavilling as any other, I refused to give any in- 
formation unless compelled by the house; stating as a 
reason, tliat all former attempts to inform the president of 
certain transactions in Kentucky had been disregarded. This 
implied a knowledge of facts; and I shall, if an enquiry be 
made, be compelled to give testimony on oath, which is what 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. 59 

1 desire, when its effect will be greater by its appearing not cilAP. 
to be offered voluntarily , and God knows, I never would *^" 

WISH TO COME FORWARD YOXUNTARXIY AND ACCUSE 
HIM. 

« Wilkinson, I am informed, declai*es all the papers 
forgeries, and intends resting his defence on tobacco spe- 
culations. He has various forged documents for this 
purpose, or rather certificates, from Gilbert, and Folch, 
and others: liis confidence will betray him to his ruin, 
and yon can easily effect it. 

»• When his papers and documents are presented, / 
shall have it suggested that it would be well that he 
should furnish his invoices of the shipments, and the 
names of the patrons boats by which they were made, 
and the time when they were made, with the time of the 
sale: this must e.mharrnss liim, and as all he can allege 
on this score must be false, he can have no other scape 
hole tlian a pretence that his books and pajiers are lost. 

" In this case, as he will have no proof to bring, we 
shall be allowed to bring what may be called negative 
proof to contradict his assertions. 

« It is a well known fact, that Wilkinson has made no 
tobacco shipments siiice the year 1791,* and I even be- 
lieve since the year 1790, as at the end of 1791, Nolan, 
his confidential friend, left his service and went to San 
Antoijio. To prove with certainty that these shipments 
were not made, or if made that tliey never were sold to 
the Spanish government, you have only to call upon Don 
Matias Alfuente, the inspector of tobacco, who has been 
in oflice as I believe since 1792, and he will give you a 
certified copy from his books, or an affidavit, that no to- 
bacco was purchased or inspected by him or entered the 
king's stores, from Wilkinson or any of his agents, during 
the time he has been in office. This time he must clearly 
state, and from his books or other vouchers, he must give 
you a copy of all the quantities of hogshead or Ken- 
tucky tobacco bought by the king in his time. I have 
reason to believe that a parcel which I myself sold in the 
beginning of 1794, was the last parcel ever delivered of 



iO MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Kentucky tobacco in the warehouses, and this parcel 

'^' Alfuente himself inspected by particular order of the 

baron de Carondelet. Whatever papers or vouchers you 

may procure from Alfuente must be afterwards sworn 

to and duly authenticated by the governor. 

« Request Relf to assist you, who can be of material 
service, and write to Minor for such further intelligence 
as he can give. It is all important to us, for you and I, 
and every one else who knows any thing of Wilkinson's 
nefarious transactions, will be sacrificed if we do not 
now effectually prove liis guilt. 

*< For heaveii's sake^ my dear fnend, lose not a moment; 
time is pressing; and let what you do be well done. 

« If Bradford or the Browns can be of any service, 
now is the time to come foi'ward : he has accused them all, 
and self defence will render a rlisrlomire of all his villa- 
nies justifiable. 

« I shall expect to hear from you without delay on 
this subject, 

(' And remain, dear Sir, very sincerely, 
" Your friend, 
(Signed) " DANIEL CLARK. 

« Thomas Power, EsqJ' 



" Washington, 9th January , 1808. 
« My dear Friend, 

»< The stoi-m has hurst 07i our poor devoted heads, 
Randolph's resolution calling on me to give information 
with respect to AVilkinson's being a pensioner, has been 
the signal for all the ministerial pai'ty to make a dead set 
at both of us. When your appeal to the public came out, 
it became essential for me to support your statements : I 
have been attacked in my turn, and our common enemies 
talk even of expelling me hy a vote from the House of 
Representatives. I shall, to save us both, be obliged to 
make use of your vouchers, and hajipy if a prudent use of 
them CAN save us eoth from the imputation of being vile 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 6i 

calumniators. It is a fortunate circumstance for us that chap. 
Vidal, who was Gayoso's secretary, is now in New^ Or- ^''• 
leans. If you and some others of my friends see him, 
you might get from him many important things : at any 
rate, you will prevent him from committing himself by 
giving certijicates to clear Wilkinson, the falsity of which 
7ve might easily afterwards prove. Write to Minor that 
he may not be entrapped, and see Watkins to inform him 
of what is going on. I am to give a statement of what I 
know to the house on Monday the 11th, and it will be a 
xleadly blow to the partisans of Wilkinson. 

« I beg of you to write to me without delay, and inform 
me of such further particulars as I am unacquainted with. 
Ml reserve, all cantioUf is now useless. We are devoted 
to destruction by the whole pi'esidential party, and self 
defence will authorise ant measures we may take; indeed 
we are bound to take all within the scope of our means 
and power. 

«< Every thing that human ingenuity can conjure up 
will be employed against you and me. We are now united 
either in fortune or misfortune, and nothing but our joint 
and greatest efforts can save us. Think of this, and 

SERVE ME TO SAVE YOURSELLF. 

*< Yours, most sincerely, 
(Signed) « DANIEL CLARK. 

« Mr. Thomas Power."" 

The indignation and disgust which will be felt by every Observa 

man of honest and ingenuous mind, in the perusal of ^ v"^, *P' 
•^ ' * plied to 

these letters, will naturally produce a train of reflections these let- 
to which prejudice itself will not be insensible, and byc^.t^tc 
which justice may be fairly measured to the accuser and Power, 
accused. 

Two days only before the dat-e of Mr. Clark's first let- 
ter to Power, when referred to by Mr. Randolph in the 
House of Representatives for his knowledge of facts, he 
stated that the reference was unexpected to himj and, 
with apparent reluctance, if not an air of displeasure, he 
declared that he felt himself bound tg saii<, nntwithstaiidin^ 



63 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, the gentleman^ s call upon him, that he woidd not he in- 
*'■ Jlnenced to give information « unless compelled by a vote of 
the housc.^' Tliis was on the 31st of December, 1807; 
and, on the 2d of January following, (only two days 
after,) lie writes to his friend and confidant Thomas 
Powei", that he had himself " put the papers into Mr. 
Randolph's hands, and that to be compelled to 

GIVE information ON OATH WAS WHAT HE DESIRED, 
WHEN ITS EFFECT WOULD BE GREATER BY APPEARING 

NOT TO BE OFFERED VOLUNTARILY." After tilis disclo- 
sure, what stigma is there which might not be justly ap- 
plied to tlic unmanly, treacherous disguise, thus assumed 
by Mr. Clark for the most wanton and flagitious of pur- 
poses ? and how will the chivalrous Mr. Randolph acquit 
liimself of the vindictive, dishonourable concert? If, gen- 
tlemen, Mr. Clark had not described his own proceed- 
ings as tlic feigned hesitation of perfidy alone, we might, 
perliaps, have supposed him to have been not yet inacces- 
sible to some slight compunctions visitings of conscience ; 
and might have attributed his manner, at that moment, to 
the perplexity and trepidation of fear and remoi'se. It 
is not, however, unreasonable to ask, whether such a 
witness does not come, in worse than a questionable 
shape, and whether any man wlio is worthy to be be- 
lieved, would not have disdained to mask his vindictive 
purposes under so sinister a collusion. But wind were 
the motives and objects of all this contrivance, as detail- 
ed to Power by Mr. Clark himself? Does he say that 
the steps which he had taken tor my destruction, origi- 
nated in any principle of public duty or political integri- 
ty? or, that they proceeded from any concern for the 
safety, the honour, or interests of the nation? No, gen- 
tlemen, this is not even pretended j but, in unbosoming 
himself to Power, as an apology for the use to which 
the papers had been applied, Mr. Clark informs him, 

that THE CIRCUMSTANCE OF MY CHALLENGE TO Mr. 

Randolph, his refusal to fight, and my imme- 
diately POSTING HIM, had GIVEN A SORT OF TRIUMPH 
TO THE PARTY IN CONGRESS, WHICH APPROVED THE PRE- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 63 

SIDENTIAL measures; "THAT THINGS HAD NOW COME CHAP. 

TO A CKisis ; Randolph or Wiiktnson must fali, and ^^..^i,^ 

IF THE FORMER, EVERT THING WOULD HAVE BEEN BORNE 
BOAVN BY THE LATTER, AND HIS PATRIOTISM WOULD 
HAVE BEEN BLAZONED IN LETTERS OF GOLD. It WOULD 
EVER AFTER HAVE BEEN IN VAIN TO HAVE ENTERTAINED 
A THOUGHT OF SELF DEFENCE AGAINST SUCH A GIANT." 

The terrors of Mr. Clark's imagination being thus awa- 
kened, his conscience perhaps alarmed by the remem- 
brance of certain associations of interest growing out of 
Burr's conspiracy, his pride and self importance ope- 
rating equally with his animosity, his fears, and interests, 
he next betakes himself to the most safe and prudent 
means for disarming and crippling « the giant" whom 
liis fancy had endowed with such overbearing domina- 
tion. He tells his friend Power, in the first letter, 

f' there was, I thought, but one REMEDY, AND 
THAT WAS A DESPERATE ONE. I PUT YOUR ADDRESS 
TO THE PUBLIC, RESPECTING THE GENERAL, INTO Mr. 

Randolph's hands, with two other papers of 

THOSE YOU had COMMITTED TO ME ,* NEITHER OF 
WHICH, HOWEVER, APPEARS, BY ANY THING ON THE 
FACE OF THEM, EVER TO HAVE BEEN IN YOUR POSSES- 
SION;" and in the second letter he addresses Power in 
the same strain: J shall, to save us both, be obliged 

TO MAKE use OF YOUR VOUCHERS; AND HAPPY, IF A 
PRUDENT USE OF THEM CAN SAVE US BOTH FROM THE 
IMPUTATION OF BEING VILE CALUMNIATORS." — That the 

expedients which were resorted to, in the first instance, 
and which have been relied upon for my conviction^ — that 
all those " vouchers," of which forgery and perjury have 
been so prolific, was indeed but "a desperate remedif for 
Mr. Clark to apply to, I believe will be generally ac- 
knowledged; nor can it now be doubted, that he and his 
minion miglit consider themselves happy, if a more " pru- 
dent use of them" had saved them botli from the well- 
merited <• IMPUTATION OF BEING VILE CALUMNIATORS." 

Having worked upon the apprehensions of Power, by a 
prospect of the mutual dangers to which they would he 



64 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, exposed, in the progress of their nefarious plot; havin,g 
^^' soothed the pride and inflated the hopes of Power's heart, 
by the representation of a common interest between them, 
and by a common destiny, by whicli they were *<7J0U' 
united either in fortune or misfortune^'* and having inti- 
mated to him the advantage of inlisting other auxilia- 
ries in the same service, and that " now was-the time," 

rOR Alii THOSE WHOM I HAD " ACCUSED TO COME FOR- 
WARD," for the sake of " self defence," to crush me 
Iby the combined weight of their revenge; — tlie honoura- 
ble Mr. Clark then proceeds to instruct Mr. Power upon 
the subject of procuring further testimony to convict me: 
and lie intersperses some very pertinent and impressive 
hints of improvement, whicli experience has manifested 
to us, were not lost upon the ingenious and convenient 
Mr. Power. In the fust place, it seems to have occurred 
to Mr. Clark, that probably my books and papers were 
lost; and that I should be thus materially embarrassed, 
in the exjdanations which his artifice might render ne- 
cessary for my defence. << In this case (says he) as he 
tcill have no proof to Irbig, we shall he allowed to bring 
Qiegative proof to contradict his assertions,'* Power is fully 
and particularly advised, in both letters, of the species 
of proof w hich might eventually be wanted for their pur- 
pose ; and having whetted his zeal and ingenuity by every 
possible allurement, having urged and pressed him, in 
the first letter, with this portentous and awful injunction, 

" FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, MY DEAR FRIEND, LOSE NOT A 
moment; time is pressing, and let WHAT YOU DO 

BE weix done" — at the conclusian of his second letter, 
lest the solemn appeal, thus impiously made to heaven, 
might not operate quite as effectually upon Power as an 
appeal to his own selfish interests, Clark again admo- 
nished him in these parting words, " nothing but our 

JOINT AND GREATEST EFFORTS CAN SAVE US — THINK 
OF THIS, AND SERVE ME TO SAVE YOURSELF." In thcSC 

efforts to establish their credit upon the ruin of my cha- 
racter, Mr. Clark had, previously, taken care to stimu- 
late and encourage Power by the certain assurance of 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 65 

succevss. He had calculated tliat innocence would afford CHAP, 
but feeble protection, against the assaults and stratagems "' 
of the powerful cabal which was then forming to dcstroy 
me ; and he seems fully to have expected, that the bold- 
ness and frank impetuosity wliich innocence inspires, by 
throwing me in)prudently off" my guard, would present 
all advantageous opening for the vengeance of Power and 
liimself, to aim a mortal stab at my reputation. AYith 
wiiat unrelenting, cold hearted malevolence docs he ex- 
ultingly observe to Power, " Wilkinson's confidence 

WILL BETRAT HIM TO HIS RUIN, AND YOU CAN EASILY 
EFFECT IT." 

As I am now about to enter. Mi'. President, as far as Remaiks 
may be practicable, into a detailed examination of all the^'V^f T'^' 

, ^ lUiest ab- 

evidence before the court, relative to the specifications of surdity of 
the 1st and 2d charges, there is one general remark tliat^^^j^^'^J^"^ 
occurs to me, as applicable to every part of it, which I Wilkinson 
hope you may constantly bear in mind. The particular ^ spiliTslf 
circumstance to which I allude, is this^ that, while I am pensioner 
charged with having been in the regular receipt of a sti- 
pend from the court of Spain, and various sums have 
been specified to have been paid for me, on account of a 
pension from the year 1789 down to the year 1S04 inclu- 
sive, it is worthy of observation, that iieither in the whole 
course of that period, nor at any other time, amidst the 
frequent temptations of a crisis, in which the interests of 
Spain and the United States have been brought into col- 
lision, has it been proved, or even attempted to be proved, 
that I have ever taken a single step, calculated to pro- 
mote or gratify the views of Spain j or that I have, di- 
rectly or indirectly, rendered any service to the Spanish 
government, in return for the thousands and tens of thou- 
sands of dollars, which it is repre&ented they were so pro- 
fusely squandering for my benefit and aggrandisement. 
There is not the slightest vestige of any effort on my 
part, to carry into effect any of tliose treasonable or un- 
lawful projects, of which I am accused; nor is there im- 
puted to me, a single instance of any neglect, omission 
or violation of duty, or disregard of ttiosc sacred obliga- 
voL. IL T 



66 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, tions which a citizen and a soldier owes to the govern- 
*' ment of his native country. It wouhl seem, therefore, that 
instead of promoting any project of disunion, or plan 
hostile to the g-oAernment of my country, if I have been 
bribed by Spain, it has been to preserve my allegiance 
inviolate to the United States; and that a foreign govern- 
ment has been generous enough to step forward and pen- 
sion a poor veteran of the revolution, in order to continue 
him faithful in his attachments and his services to his 
country; — to that country, whose sovereign riglits, as an 
independent power, several of you, gei\tlemen, as well as 
myself, some thirty or thirty-five years ago, fought and 
struggled hard to estabiisb and maintain. 

Having premised these introductory remarks, I shall 
proceed, gentlemen, to investigate tlie evidence on both 
the charges against me, relative to the Spanish pension ; 
considering the tenor and substance of the several of- 
fences, specified under them, in one general view. That 
I might be prepared in time to meet the occasion, I hav( 
been obliged to avail myself of tlie greater part of my 
defence, upon the matter of these charges, in t!ie same 
shape in which it was laid before the court of enquiry. 
Whatever was superfluous in it, I have endeavoured to 
reject; — wherever new proof has been offered, I have not 
failed to give it particular examination; and my object 
has been to elucidate tlie whole argument, by inserting 
such incidental and additioniU observations, as have been 
deemed the most material and appropriate. The docu- 
ments will, therefore, he taken up in the order best suit- 
ed to tins arrangement; but, in the course of this de- 
fence, it will be found, I trust, tJiat due notice will be 
taken of every particle of testimony, to which any degree 
of importance can be attached. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 67 



CHAPTER IIL 

Imputed letter of Baron Carondelet to Don Thos. Portell. — 
Poxver's tistiinony respecting the same. — Declaration of 
Governor Folch on the same subject. — Deposition oj Cap- 
tain Bowijer respecting Poxver. — Secondhudget of Messrs. 
Randolph and Clark presented to Congress — Mr. Clark 
performs the complex duties of Accuser , Witness, and Ex- 
positor. — Power''s letter to Portell quoted. — Curious in- 
structions to Power, ascribed to General Wilkinson. — Let- 
ter of Baron de Carondelet to Power examined. — 9 forged 
letter, alleged to have been written by General Wilkinson, 
to Governor Gayoso. — Governor Folch' s declaration res- 
pecting the same. — Potver's narrative of his visit to 
General Wilkinson in 1795.— Letters of Philip JVolan re- 
ferred to. — His death and character. — Samuel P. Moore's 
deposition. — The correspondence with Governor Gaijoso 
noticed.— Letter from, Thomas Power to the Baron de 
Carondelet compared with his {Power's) deposition and 
examination. — Silas Dinsmore's deposition respecting 
Power.— Extract from Power's letter to General Wil- 
kinson, February 6th, 1803. — Governor Claiborne's de- 
claration respecting Power. — Power's note to General 
Wilkinson, dated Sunday morning.— Ditto to same, dated 
I6th May, 1807, xvith his certificate — Power's narrative 
to Governor Gayoso of his visit to Kentucky and Detroit, 
dated December 5, 1797.— Depositions of Major Russell, 
George Mather, esq. and Colonel William Wykoff, touch- 
ing the characters of Daniel Clark and Thomas Power, 
— Power's application to General Wilkinson for the loaij^ 
of %500, March 8, 1807.— Dr. Pendergrast's deposition^ 

In entering upon a discussion of tlie merits of the CHAP, 
first and second charges, and their specifications, I ^^S,^^^^^^ 
leave to call the attention of the court to the copy of a 



68 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, letter* said to have been written by the Baron de Carou- 
"^' delet to Don Thomas Portell, to which a paper, alleged 
to be a translation of a certificate from tlie said Portell, 
dated at New Madi'id, on the 27th of June, 1796, more 
that fifteen years since, is attached. And I pray the 
court to bear in mind, tliat this letter and certificate aie 
the same referred to in the first letter of Mr. Clai'k to 
Thomas Power, and were furnished by Power to Mr. 
Clark, and by him delivered to Mr. Randolph, who pre- 
sented them to the House of Representatives. 

This document carries with it no circumstance of au- 
thenticity as it relates to me; and were it duly authenti- 
cated, it certainly could not be fairly employed to crimi- 
nate me. It is altogether improbable, had the money 
alluded to been intended for corrupt purposes, that the 
Baron de Carondelet would have exposed my name to 
his subalterns ; and wherefore should Portell (a Spanish 
officer) give a certified copy of the Baron's note to Power, 
contrary to all usage in military service, and without an 
apparent motive? With what design could this certificate 
have been given in June, 1797, the period of its date? 
What purpose was it intended to answer? What possible 

* Translation of a letter said to be from the Baron de Carondelet, 
(Governor of Louisiana, to senior Don Thomas Portell, commandant of 
the Spanish post of New Madrid on the Mississippi. 

" In the galley the Victoria, Bernardo Molina, patron, there have 
" been sent to Don Vincente Folch nine thousand six hundred and for- 
'' ty dollars ; which sum, without making the least use of it, rou witt 

*' HOLD AT MY llISPOfiAI, TO DELIVER IT AT THE MOMENT AN OHDER MAT 

•' BE TRESENTED TO YOU by the American general Don James Wllkin- 
" son. God preserve you many years. 
" JV'^ew Orleans, January 20th, 1796. 

(Signed) "The BARON DE CAllONDELET. 

" To Senior Don T/iomas Portell.'" 

" I certify that the foregoing is a copy of the original to which I 
" refer. 

" JVew Madrid, 27th June, 1796, 

(Signed) " THOMAS PORTELL." 

See Report of the first cnmtnittee of Congress, of which Mr. Butler 
was chairman, May 1st, 181U. 



GENERAX. WILKINSON. 69 

advantage could Power, or any other person, have pro- CHAP, 
mised himself at that time from this certified copy of the "^' 
baron's letter? or what use was Power to make of it ? — 
Tlie human mind cannot conceive any adequate motive, 
for this most extraordinary departure from all usage ; by 
whicli Portell would have exposed himself to the resent- 
ment of his superior, and could have acquired nothing by 
tlie risk. Suffer me, gentlemen, to draw your attention 
to t e written and solemn declaration of Governor Folch 
on this point, which will be found in the third report of 
the committee of Congress, of which Mr. Bacon was 
chairman, page 47, wherein he observes that " the letter 
addressed by the Baron de Carondelet to Don Thomas Por- 
ielU published in the newspapers^ he considers a genuine ouc, 
except the phrase which expresses that 9640 dollars that 
tverc sent to him^ in the galley called the La Victoria, to the 
Chickasaw Bluffs, were to be at the disposal of Gene, al Wil- 
kinson. That the said letter, with others, came under his 
address for Don Thomas Portell, with an order from the 
Baron de Carondelet, that after informing himself of the 
contents thereof, to send them to the said Portell, which 
was done ; and he remembered, that in 7ione of them was 
vientioned the name of General Wilkinson, directly or indi- 
rectly; that he does remember to have received those nine 
thousand and odd dollars, but cannot recollect precisely 
the exact sum; tliat it is perfectly in his memory that the 
total sum was distributed in the following manner: five 
thousand and odd dollars for the post under his com- 
mand; two thousand and odd for New Madrid; and the 
remain-dcr for the Illinois ; whicli sums were sent to the 
above places under his order." In corroboration of the 
declaration of Governor Folch, I will suggest to you, 
gentlemen, that had the money sent to him been intended 
for me as a pension, it would have been entirely super- 
liiious for the Baron de Carondelet, to have introduced my 
name into the written order to Portell; wherein he is 
made to say, *• you will hold the money at my disposal, to 
deliver it at the moment an order may be presented to you''^ — 
why should he have added « by the American general Don 



70 AlEMOlllS BY 

CHAP. James Wilkinsoiii^" since sucli addition was totally unne- 
""^ cessary, and could only serve to expose my connexion 
with Spain. 

The services I could have rendered Spain, would have 
heen precisely in proportion to my reputed standing and 
patriotism as an American; therefore, admitting I had 
been a traitor, it was all important to conceal it from tijc 
world: judge then, gentlemen, whether it be probable, 
that the Baron de Car;)n!ielet would have introduced my 
name in an official mandate to an infei'ior officer, wiien 
there was no necessity for doing so. There is, also, a 
palpable absurdity in the conclusion of the letter, as it 
now stands, in which my name is introduced, compared 
witli what is previously said about the disposal of the 
money; and the veiy direction wJiich is contained in it, 
when contrasted with Mi*. I*o\\ei''s statement in regard 
to it, furnishes proof, that the passage wherein allusion 
is made to me, has heen forged. Speaking of the money, 
the baron is made to say, « hold it at my disposal, to de- 
liver at the moment that an order may be presented to 
you by the American general Don James fVilkinsorif'* which 
is a positive injunction on Thomas Portell, not to suffer 
the money to go out of his hands, without an order from 
the Baron, which must be presented by Genei%l Wil- 
kinson. 

But Mr. Power avers, that <• lie (Power) did receive 
9640 dollars from Portell for General Wilkinson," which 
would have been a direct violation of the Baron's injunc- 
tions, unless he had an order for that puri)osc, and soclt 
order must have been delivered to Don Thomas Portell, 
as evidence of the authority which Power liad to receive 
the money, and as a voucher to the said Portell for de- 
livering it; why, then, has not that order, or a copy of 
it, been produced? Such a document would have been 
much more in point against me, than that now under dis- 
cussion, which, taking away the forgery, has no relation 
to me. But let us suppose, for a moment, that the ori- 
ginal order of the Baron to Portell did contain my name: 
-it would be no proof of my having received a pension or 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 7i 

Hioucy for corrupt purposes; it would only have proved CHAP. 
that so many thousand dollars were placed in the hands '"* 
of Don Thomas Portell for my use; and, admitting* it to 
have been so, why might it not have been on account of 
former commercial engagements, as Avell as for a bribe? 
for I can refer to the statement of Mr. Clark himself to 
ihe secretary of state, made in 1797, and presented by Mr. 
TcfFerson to the House of Representatives in 1808 — to the 
deposition of Oliver Pollock* — and to the letters and ac- 
founts of my former agent, Pljilip Nolan, which have 
been received in evidence by this court, to show the na- 
i.iire and extent of my mercantile connexions with the go- 
vernment of Louisiana; and I could appeal even to Tho- 
mas Power's declaration to Captain Bowyerf, made in 
ihe year 1799. 

* See Appendix, No. I. 

f Deposition of Captain John Bowyer, late colonel of the 5th fe- 
ment of infantry. (Third Report of the committee of Congress, Mr. 
Bacon chairman, page 68.) 

Who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, 
declares and says — " That he was appointed to the command of the 
escort for the commissioners on the part of the United States, to run 
the boundary line between the said United States and Spain, on the 
twenty-second day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand 
seven hundred and ninety-eight, and continued in command of the 
same until the month of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand 
eight hundred; and that a certain Tliomas Power was the surveyor 
and commissary for the commissioners on tlie part of Spain. 

" That in the month of May or June in the year 1799, at the com- 
missioners' camp on the Escambe river, a conversation was introdHced, 
relative to the legality of the late General Wayne's despatching Lieu- 
tenant Steel, for the purpose of searching and overhauling the letters 
and property, on board of private barges ascending from New Orleans; 
that the said Thomas Power strenuously opposed such measures as 
botli illegal and unjustifiable ; that the said deponent observed, the 
reason that the said Lieutenant Steel searched his (Titomas Power's) 
boat was, that a report was current he had money on board for gene- 
ral Wilkinson from the Spanish government, which tlie said Power in 
a solemn, sacred and positive manner denied ; and farther declared, 
that his business in Kentucky was not with General Wilkinson, but o.f 
a private mercantile nature : and further this deponent saith, that 
whensoever a conversation arose touching the aforesaid subject, that 
the said Thgmas Power ever and always denied General Wilkinson's 



73 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. My adversaries, in truth, after they had furnished 
'"■ their first set of papers 5 when the affair had heen some- 
what canvassed hy the public; perceived the defect which 
exposed them to detection : and it became necessary for 
them to explain, in some way or other, the mode adopt- 
ed by Power for procuring the money fi'om Don Thomas 
Portell, without an order from General Wilkinson : ac- 
cordingly, just before the close of the session of congress, 
Messrs. in which that subject was brought forward, Mr. Daniel 
and Ran- Clark, Supported by his patron Mr. Randolph, came for- 
dolph's ward with another set of papers; and it is a singular 

Second. 

budget in- f^ct, which should not escape observation, that Mr. 
troduced Clark, soon after his first attack on me, abandoned his 
mined. ^^at in Congress, where he attended but seldom, and 
rarely moi-e than three or four days at a time, until a 
few days before the adjournment, when, after he had ac- 
tually obtained leave of absence, had embarked his bag- 
gage at Philadelphia for New Orleans, and tlie vessel 
had fallen down the river to Newcastle, he suddenly re- 
turned to Washington and resumed his scat; and two or 
three days before the adjournment of Congress delivered 
his second budget, the chief object of which was to bring 
before Congress, tlie fabricated correspondence between 
Power and Portell.* 

It will be observed that, on. this occasion, Mr. Clark 
discharged the complex office of accuser, witness, and 
expositor: *< The object of this correspondence (says 

having any property ou board Iiis barge in casli, bills, or merchan- 
dise of any kind whatsoever. 

♦* Further this deponent sailli, that tl»c said Tiiomas Power ob 
served, that he believed money wus due from the Spanish govern- 
ment to fieneral Wilkinson, for tobacco tliat had been deposited in 
the king's stores in New Orleans, which had been supposed to be da- 
maged and unsaleable, but which turned out to be merchantable. 

(Signed) " JOHN BOWYP^H, Capt. 2d JJ. S. Itcgt. In/:' 

" Sworn to and subscribed before me John Wall, judge of the quo- 
rum and justice of the peace for Wilkinson county, Mississippi TerrL- 
tory, this fifteenth day of February, 1808. 

(Signed) "JOHN WALL." 

' See 1st Rep. Com. Cong. W. Butler chairman, p. 31 & 36. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^ 

Mr. C.) seems to have been to furnish Portell tbc means chap. 
of explaining to his superiors, his motives for delivering ^^^' 
the money without a vviittcn order." I have no doubt, 
gentlemen, that this ( orrespondence, between Power and 
Portell, was framed expressly for the purpose of expla- 
nation 5 and that it was done at the instance of Mr. 
Clark; for ample time had elapsed for communicating 
with Power at New Orleans, between Mr. Clark's first 
report and last exhibit; and the court will remember, 
that in Clark's pressing letter to Power, dated 2d Janua- 
17, 1808, he thus conjures him — ^^ For heaven's sake, my 
dear fiiendf lose not a moment; time is pressing; and let 
whatjjou do he well done!" but, on examiuation, the 
correspondence itself will best demonstrate the weakness 
of the imposture. In his letter to Portell, Power says, 
" the principal object of my going down to Mw Orleans, 
7vas to take charge, by order of General Wilkinson, of the 
money you (Portell') have now in deposit for him, which is 
shewn by the letters* which he wrote to the governors of 
this province and of ^'\itche^; hut at my arrival, the money 
had been already sent ojf, in one of his majesty's gallies,for 
this place, which I learned from the Baron de Carondelet, the 
intendant, and Don Andre Armesto." I ask you, gentle- 
men, is it possible, when the Baron informed Power the 
money had been sent to New Madrid, that he would not, 
at the same time, have mentioned to him, the order he had 
transmitted to Portell with regard to it? And, in such 
case, would not Power (having no order from General 
AVilkinson) have asked from the Baron, himself, new in- 
structions to Portell, to deliver up the dollars without the 
foi-mality of an order from General Wilkinson ? Passing 
over these glaring inconsistencies, is it probable that a 
Spanish military officer would, from the bare representa- 
tion of such a man as Power, have dared to violate the 
express command of his superior, and deliver up, in the 
face of his orders, so large a sum as 9640 dollars, for 

* Those letters never were produced, wliich may be wondered at, 
when we reflect on the dexterity with which Messrs. Clark and Power 
wt-re accustomed to manage their pens. 

vor. n. K 



74. MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, uhicli he was held responsible, and might have been ca- 
^* shiered for a breach of official trust? But where was the 
motive to induce Portell to make such a perilous devia- 
tion from his duty? If he had been tempted by any pe- 
cuniary, or other, advantage to surrender the money, I 
should be willing to allow there was some plausibility in 
the story j but, as it stands, it is totally destitute of all 
semblance of truth. One of the reasons which Power as- 
signs for my not sending an order, is utterly repugnant 
to common sense : « General TVilkinson," says he, « did 
not knoxv the sum of money tvhich Portell had to deliver to 
his order P' But could I not have requested him to deliver 
to Mr. Power, all the money in his hands for myj use; 
Surely that would have been sufficiently specific. 

The air of mystery which the letter assumes, in regard 
to me, is irreconcileable to t!»e general tenor of it. Mr. 
Power pretends he said to Portell, « I cannot commvui- 
cate to you all the motives why W. has not given to me an 
order;" as if there were some dreadful secret in the case ; 
and yet he tells Portell, in the same letter, that he had 
repeatedly urged <« the necessity of sending up sngar, coffee, 
and potvder to JV*ew Madrid, to form a cargo to take to 
Kentucky with General Wilkinson's money; hiding, by 
this means, the trne intention of the voyage, and giving it 
the appearance of a commercial speculation." Had I 
been a pensioner of Spain, such language was as well 
calculated to lead to the discovery of my connexion, as if 
my most secret motives had been committed to writing. 
There are many other passages, in the same letter, equal- 
ly at variance with ;Mr. Power's affectation of reserve on 
my behalf; and it is quite as absuid to suppose I should 
authorise Power to write an order for me, in my name, 
(when I might so easily have furnished him with an or- 
der, leaving a blank for the amount of the sum) as it is 
to believe, that if I really had thus authorised him, he 
would not have resorted to that expedient, instead of wri- 
ting a ridiculous and inadequate letter to Portell; to 
whom any order, with my name to it, would have been a 
more complete justification for the surrender of the mo- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 75 

iiey, tlian all the ingenious sophistries of Mr. Power; be- ciUP. 
cause, in case he (PortcU) should have been called to ac- '"• 
count for his conduct, he might have alleged ignorance of 
my hand writing. 

For the sake of elucidation, I have been obliged to take 
up the consideration of Mr. Clark's second budget, before 
I had gone through the first; and to preserve the most re- 
gular chain of connexion, I find it necessary to proceed 
in order. 

Permit me, then, gentlemen, to claim your considera- The Baron 

tionof the document* said to be the answer of the Baron ^^j^^tg°"' 

letter to 
* From the Baron de Carondelet to Thomas Power. Power, 

" JVew Orleans, May 2Sih, 1797. j^ „ 28th 
" There remains in my hands the six documents i-elative to the ac-l797, con- 
count of the last expedition which you made in the Ohio, and which sidered, 
you inclosed me in your official letter of the 9th inst. and they are as 
follow : 
No. 1. — Account sales of the effects laden at New Madrid. 
2. — Another of the expenses of the crew. 
3. — Account of the expenditure of the 640 dollars. 
4. — Statement which shews how the merchandise has been em^ 

ployed. 
5. — Statement which shews the balance due to you. 
6. — Original invoice of J. & A. Hunt. 
«* On account of it there will be delivered to you glOOO, that you 
may make preparations for your journey in the new commission that 
I trust to your care. 

" It is necessai-y to see how you can get rid of the horses with the 
least possible loss, as well as to recover the debt of Nicholas Welsh, 
or have it recovered; for which purpose I enclose you his obligation : 
and likewise the proceeds of the merchandise, which to the amount of 
^358, you delivered to Pon Pedro Uerbigny, in order to give account 
to the court without these balances, which caused trouble and ap- 
peared speculations, when they are no more than the effect of neces- 
sity, and the difficulty which these commissions cause, in places where 
there are no resources, when you have to deceive the vigilance of 
spies. 

" As you finish these matters, and as soon as your present commis- 
sion is fulfilled, you will give me advice. God preserve you many 
years. 

"The baron DE CARONDELET 
« To Mr. Thomas Power." 

See First Report Committee of Congress, page 98, 



76 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, de Carondelct to tlic letter of Power, touciiing his expc- 
^^^' ditiou to the Ohio, and calculated to criminate me. 

Does this answer implicate me ? No ! it neither con- 
tains my name, nor does it bear any allusion to me; for 
it only goes to shew, that Power had been coticerned in 
some expedition, under the authority of the Spanish go- 
vernment, it is true, Ml'. Clark, in his exposition, re- 
marks, that « the baron's letter is in the hand writing of 
Don Andre Armesto;" whicli, if it he the fact, rendered 
the introduction of my name into it difficult to tlie most 
adroit counterfeiter: but there is no such difficulty in 
Power's letter to the Baron; because Power might, now 
or hereafter, write any kind of letter to the Baron de Ca- 
rondelct, or any other person, which he or his patron, 
Mr. Clark, may find necessary to gloss their own con- 
duct and cast odium upon mine. Of the papers, said to 
be instructions from General Wilkinson to Power*, I had 
no knowledge, previous to their production, in the House 
of Representatives, by Mr. Clark; with regard to those 
papers, Mr. Clark avers «« they are in the hand writing 
of Philip Nolan, with which he is well acquainted;'^ and 
he makes the same remark, with respect to the letter said 
to be in the hand writing of Gayoso. Were these docu- 
ments (imputed to me as instructions to Power, and said 
to be in Nolan's hand writing) worthy a moment's consi- 
deration, it would appear, they urge tiie necessity of 
Power's presence in Philadelphia. Did he respect the 
injunction? No! but it is notorious that I passed the win- 
ter 1796-7 in that city, and hence most probably this 
mysterious fabrication, without date or signature, or ad- 
dress, or reference to names or persons. I intreat you, 
gentlemen, to bear in mind, that both Nolan and Gayoso 
are dead, and, tliereforc, they cannot be called upon to 
deny the writings ascribed to them ; for we have heard 
more than once that "dead men tell no tales." 

How far Mr. Clark's boasted knowledge, of the hand 
writing of my deceased friends, contributed to the fabri- 

* First Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Butler chairman, p. 89. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 77 

cation or these papers, I am unable to determine; but chap. 
the most humble capacity Mill readily perceive, that it is ^"• 
practicable for a combination of unpiincipled men, deep- 
ly versed in all the wiles and artifices of cunning and 
treachery, and skilled in every application of the pen, to 
contrive a consistent tale of slander, and afterwards to 
give it a colouring of probability, by the perversion of 
facts, and a fraudulent, fictitious correspondence, invent- 
ed for the purpose. 

If such foul attempts be listened to, and the precedent 
sbould obtain, we have fought and bled for liberty in 
vain; for when character may be sacrificed at the shrine 
of revenge, upon informal documental testimony, the mis- 
representations of prejudice or ex parte depositions, then 
liberty will cease to be a substantial good and become 

»» AN EMPTY NAME." 

I return to the second document, which accompanied Explana- 
Mr. Randolpli's denunciation, purporting to be a letter* jg*^"gj. g^;^ 

to have 

» ^ , „^.., ... , , . ^ ^ • been writ- 

* General Wjlkinson's imputed letter to Governor Gayoso, in cy-^^^^ by Ge- 

pher. See First Report of Committee of Congress, Mr. Butler chair- neral Wil- 
main, page 8". klnson to 

" Fort Wasliington, 7bre 22, 1796. Governor 

Gayoso, 
" 111 health and many pressing engagements must be my apology for ^^ cypher 

a short letter. I must refer you to my letter to the Baron, for several dated 

particulars; and for a detail of my perils and abuses. I must beg^bre 22, 

leave to refer you to our friend Power, whom 1 find of youthful enter- . * ^?^' 

, _ , , . , . , , 1. /. , , X , . amined. 

prise and fidelity ; he certainly deserves well or the court, and I don t 

doubt that he will be rewarded. 

*' What political crisis is the present ! and how deeply interesting in 
its probable results, in all its tendencies, and thereby must hope it 
may not be carried into execution. If it is, an entire reform in the 
police and the military establishments of Louisiana will be found im- 
mediately indispensable to the Mexican provinces. I beg you to write 
me fully on this question, in cypher, by Power, whose presence in 
Philadclpiiia is necessary, as well to clear his own character, attack- 
ed by Wayne, as to support the fact of the outrage recently offered 
to the Spanish crown, in his person, and to bring me either the per- 
son or the deposition of a man now under your command, who had 
been suborned by Wayne to bear false witness against me, and after- 
wards for fear he should recant, bribed him to le.ave Kentucky. 
Power will give you the pkufect of this infamous transaction ; and I 
conjure you by all the ties of friendship and of policy, to assist him 



78 MEMOIRS Bl 

CHAP, written, in cypher, by me to Governor Gayoso, and sign - 
"'• ed «W." 

Before I submit to you any observations of my own, on 
that paper, I solicit your attention to the opinion which 
Governor Folch pronounces upon it. The Governor re- 
marks, that, " the copy of the letter, addressed to Gover- 
nor Gayoso, and supposed to be written by General Wil- 
kinson, I consider forged, under the tVtllowing observa- 
tions — wlienever one governor corresponds with another, 
l)y official communications, it is requisite and unavoida- 
ble, that a copy sent from one to the other, should be cer- 
iified by the secretary^ as the person authorised by the king 
for doing the same , and if any confidential correspond- 
on this occasion. If Spain does not resent tlie outrag-e offered to 
Power, in the face of all Kentucky, my letter to the baron will ex- 
plain the motives which carry me to Piiiladelphia ; from thence I will 
again wiite to you. Power will explain to you circumstances which 
justify the belief of the great treachery that has been practised with 
respect to the money lately sent to me. For the love of God, my 
friend, enjoin great secresy and caution in all our concerns ; never 
suffer my name to be written nor spoken. The suspicion of Wash- 
ington is wide awake. Beware of Bradford the Fort Pitt refugee; he 
seeks to make peace ; there is spies every where. We have a report 
here that you are appointed Governor of Louisiana; may God grant it 
iSj as I presume the Baron will be promoted. 

" I am ever your affectionate friend, 

« W." 

" Es copiade una carta en ciphra que he recivido del General Wil- 
kinson. Natchez, 6 de Febrero, de 1797. 

" MANUEL GAYOSO DE LEiMOS. 
" En un papilito a parte dice lo siguiente." 

*» This will be delivered to you by Noland, whom you know is a child 
of my own raising, true to his profession, and firm in his attachments 
to Spain. I consider him a powerful instrument in our hands, should 
occasion offer. I will answer for his conduct. I am deeply interest- 
ed in whatsoever concerns him, and I cor\fidently recommend him to 
your warmest protection. 

" I am EviDENTLT your affectionate, 

" WILKINSON. 

*• Es Copia. 
" *^lannel Gayoso ch Leims." 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. 79 

ciicc subsists between tliem, they never certify any sucli chap. 
document whatever; this method and etiquette is always '''' 
obsei-vedf and few goveiMiors ever followed this rule jnorc 
strictly, than the said Governor Gayoso." See 3d Re- 
port of the committee of congress, whereof Mr. Bacon 
was chairman, page 47. 

This exposition of the want of authentic form in the 
copy of the letter, by a man so intimately conversant in 
all the rules and maxims of the Spanish government, as 
Don Vincent Folch, is, of itself, sufficient to demonsti*ate 
that it is a fabrication; and the circumstances derive 
additional strength from Power's own declaration ; for 
he has declared before this court, that " this letter was 
intended to aid his application, at tlie court of Madrid, 
for monies claimed by him on account of services per- 
formed ;" and of course, were it authentic, it would be 
found with all the essential forms attaclied to it. But 
the copy of this reputed letter, itself, is so full of absur- 
dities, that it is totally inexplicable. The imitation may 
be ingenious; for the leading facts hinted at in this letter^ 
were all as notorious as the outrage committed on Power, 
of which lie complained in the public prints ; but neither 
my manner, my language, nor a single cliaracteristic 
which distinguishes my style, has been well copied. 

I trust that I seldom write errant nonsense ; and yel 
the first sentence of the second paragraph is incoherent, 
and absolutely incomprehensible. I am represented to 
say « what political crisis is the present ! and how deep- 
ly interesting in its probable results, in all its tenden- 
cies !" Tliis, if it has any meaning, is intended (I pre- 
sume) to sustain the suspicion, that I was concerned in a 
plot to divide the union : what consistency, then, is there 
in the idea or language, wlien I am, immediately after- 
wards, made to declare, " and thereby nuist hope, it may 
not be cairied into execution ;'' according to this, I was 
doing a thing, which " I hoped" would not he done. In 
the sec(md sentence, instead of looking to a disiuember- 
nient of the United States, my attention is carried to the 
security of the Mexican " provinces,*' and toward': the 



80 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, end of it, I am made to say, " Power will give you th« 
'"■ perfect of this infamous transaction ;" here the foreign 
idiom is too apparent to be denied, and the next para- 
graph is too absurd to be ascribed to me. »• If Spain 
docs not resent the outrage offeretl to Power, in the face 
of all Kentucky, my letter to the Baron will explain the 
motives w hich carry me to Philadelphia ;" w liat a direct 
and dreadful consequence for so horrible an indignity to 
poor Power ! Did it not mark too much levity, I would 
lecommend to Messrs. Clark and Power to reclaim this 
letter and amend it ; in w hich case, should it not be too 
frivolous a circumstance for their attention, they ought to 
give Nolan's name correctly, and without the « d." 

I regret that time will not permit me to trace this man, 
step by step, through the mazes of his artful fabrications. 
I must, however, tax your patience with t!ie exposition 
of an inconsistency, wiiich, in itself, would suffice to taint 
the credibility of a man of sound cliaracter, much more 
that of Thomas Power, who stands outlawed in honour 
by his ow n confessions. In his aifected narrative* of his 

* Extract from the narrative of Thomas Power, see 1st Report of 
the Committe of Congress, Mr. Butler chairman, page 80. 

*' Without loss of timei a pirogue, hands and provisions were got 
ready ; and I set off from X. Madrid on the 6ih of Sept. and reached 
the red banks on the sixth day. Here I was detained by a bilious 
lever, until the 24th, on which day I set off by land, and arrived at 
Cincinnati on the 3d of October, having delayed one day at Lexing- 
ton. The day after my arrival I delivered my despatches to general 
Wilkinson, agreeably to my orders. When I left New Madrid, Iivas 
only half in the secret of the object of my viission ; but the general disclosed 
ihe -tuhiile plot to me, iMch -^vas a separation of the nuestern from the east- 
ern stales, such as appears in Judge Sebastian's trial. After some 
days stay at Cincinnati, I proceeded up the Ohio as far as Galliopolis, 
in obedience to General Wilkinson's orders, which I had been in- 
structed by Gayoso implicitly to follow. I returned to Cincinnati on 
the 8lh of November, and left that place on the 14th, with Wilkin- 
son's answers, having occasionally dined with the general, and having 
had several nocturnal conferences with him in fort Washington. 

" In his letter in cypher to Gayoso, September 22, 1796, he refers 
him to what I should verbally communicate to him, wliich was as fol- 
lows ; that I must immediately return to Red Banks, where 1 should 
meet the following gentlemen, or at least two of them, viz. Messieurs 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 81 

visit to me at Cincinnati in 1795, we are informed, lie chap. 
«< reached that place the 5d of October and dclirered his ^"' 
despatches to me ; and after a tour up the OhiO) returned to 
Cincinnati the 8th and left it the ±4th of J^ovcmber with 
Wilkinson^ s answers ; and that in a letter which I wrote to 
Gaijoso, in cypher, September 22d, ±796, 1 refer him to what 
he (Power') should verbally communicate;*'' and tlicn follows 
a tissue of instructions, the romantic absurdity of Avhich 
alone, must secure me against the imputation of being 
their author. 

It is remarkable that Mr. Power should, in this narra- 
tive, have adopted the plan of l»is patron, Mr. Clark, and 
made me confess my guilt to him, also ; and to be consistent, 
he puts Gayoso in a great passion mth me, for revealing 
to his co7ifidential agent, the secret of our plan of revolu- 
tion. This letter of the 22d of September, 1796, which 
Mr. Power makes me write in October, 1795, is the very 
same Mr. Clark laid before Congress with his second. 
budget, which he pretends was decyphered, certified and 
furnished by this very Gayoso, who was so angry with 
me, for having communicated too freely with this same 
agent Power. Here the detection is palpable, and the 
imposture cannot be explained away, unless this child of 
darkness possesses the faculty to reconcile impossibili- 
ties ; that is, to make me, in October 1795, write a letter 
in September 1796. But the enterprise of my enemies 
overreached their cunning, and in composing Clark's 
scandalous publication, they trusted more to diversified 
matter and high colourings, than to consistency and 

Benjamin Sebastian, Henry Innes, Jolin Murray and George Niclio- 
las, whom I was to convey to the mouth of the Ohio, tiiere to have an 
interview with Gayoso. I have already mentioned lliat the plan of 
separation was sucli as appears in Sebastian's trial; on whicli sulijcct 
Wilkinson directed me to lay the following observations before Ca- 
rondelet and Gayoso. However, before I proceed any further, it will 
not be improper to state that Wilkinson received a letter some time 
after from Gayoso, expressive of much discontent and reproach, for 
having- imprudently communicated to me the whole extent of their 
plots. This I had from Wilkinson himself, &c. &c," 
VOL. II. L 



82 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, truth ^ the former are appropriate to Messrs. Clark and 
*" Power; the latter bcloii,^ to men of honour. 

Since the art of writing was invented, and forgery be- 
came a crime, I believe there never was a more ( liimsy 
imposture practised, than the attempt to pass the two 
letters, in question, for genuine. 

When Power made out Jus deposition on tlie 18th 
March, 1809, relative to this letter,* he, in conjunction 
with those wlto were associated to accomplish my ruin, 
made no doubt that Clark's infamous publication would 
give me the <• coup dc grace," and preclude all fui-ther 
enquiry. He then did not api)rehcnd detection, and swore 
without restraint to any thing which suited the purpose 
of his employer. In that deposition he declares on oath, 
'« that in this very letter, in cypher, to Gayoso, of Sept. 
22d, 1796, I referred him (Gayoso) to what he (Power) 
should verbally communicate to him," in relation to the 
farrago of nonsense which follows, and, it may be pre- 
sumed also, respecting the pretended "nocturnal confer- 
ences he held with me at Fort Washington," a year be- 
fore the letter could have been written. But after the 
publication of this contradiction, finding it impossible to 
escape detection, he had the audacity to appear before 
this court, and make an awkward attempt to explain 
away, the inconsistency apparent on the face of the affi- 
davit, in question; but in a manner which marked the 
confusion of Ids own mind, and certainly was not satis- 
factory to any one who listened to him. He now says, 
" that the letter which he carried from me to Gayoso in 
1795, was written in October of tliat year;" but he can 
give no information of the contents, and does not recol 
lect ever to have seen it: altliough he swears that I, at 
that interview, opened to him the wliole plan of the me- 
ditated revolution, and even told him I was a brigadier 
in the Spanish service. Those who know me, know that 
I am not a man who deals in half confidence; and is it 

■ See First Report Committee of Congress, p. 80. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 83 

probable or reasonable, that I sliould have practised any chap. 
reserve with a man, to whom I had so fully committed my "^ 
Ibrtunes, my safety, and my honour? No! gentlemen, 
the letter imputed to me in Oct. 1795, is a fiction of Mr. 
Power's fruitful brain,* and that which has been produced 
of the 22d Sept. 1796, under the alleged certificate of 
Gayoso, is a forgery, by whomsoever designed oi* exe- 
cuted ; — and is it Jiot a little extraordinary, while Gover- 
nor GayoSo was certifying confidential papers for Power, 
*< to enhance his importance, and strengthen his claims at 
the court of Spain, for the services he had rendered,'' that 
he (Power) should have omitted to obtain a certified copy of 
the letter, he now pretends was written by me, at the com- 
mencement ofour confidential intrigues, and which was con- 
nected with the important arrangements detailed in his afli- 
davit? If any paper existed, worthy of Gayoso's certificate 
for Power's benefit, it is to be presumed, none could be more 
desirable than that of which he now gives testimony; and 
the nonproduction of this letter, duly certified, does in it- 
self furnish strong presumption, that the reason now as- 
signed by Power, for the extraordinary certificate of Gay- 
oso in 1797, to the reputed letter of Sept. 22d, 1796, is a 
fabrication; a fabrication rendered necessary, to furnisli 
a plausible jjretext for such a singidar certificate; — and 
Power being no\v compelled, by his contradictions, to 
create one more letter than he had intended, he was not 
prepared with a certificate to authenticate it. 

In another part of this copy of a letter, I am described 
as seeking to vindicate my character, against the asper 
sions of General Wayne; then, as procuring revenge for 
Power; next, as soliciting Gayoso not to let my name be 
written or spoken ; and, finally, (after having annexed 
the initial of my name only to tiie letter,) I am made to 
tell him in a separate note inclosed in my letter, to which 
I attach my signature at fuU length, (notwithstanding my 
possession of a cypher, and all my caution to conceal my 
name) that "Nolan was firm in his attachments," &c. — 
Such glaring inconsistencies, will suffice to expose the ar- 



84j memoirs by 

CHAP, tifices of my enemies; but it liappens, by accident, that 
'^' I ])os.sess the means to destroy the effect, expected from 
this imputed recommendation of Nolan. It is true, this 
extraordinary character was first my protege, and after- 
wards my agent, in Louisiana, and that he took charge 
Philip No-of my affairs in the years 1789-90 and 91. To this gal- 
ters^ refer- ''^"^ '»<'i'itorious, unfortunate young man's* letters, I 
red to, and appeal with Confidence, for his and my own political 
t'crpmi'r^^ P''"^4'J6S and attachments. From the wreck of time 
uayed. and the destruction incident to erratic life, 1 have saved 
a few of tliosc testimonials, wliich have been read in evi- 
dence, and will help to siiew* the nature and extent of my 
engagements to the government of Louisiana ; and that, 
notwithstanding all my management and influence, Mr. 
Nolan had cause to be jealous of the Spaniards, and con- 
sidered Governor Gayoso his mortal enemy. I feel ex- 
treme reluctance in exposing these letters, and nothing 
but the necessity of the case, could induce me to do it, 
— their heroic author is no more: adventuring beyond 
the bounds of propriety and discretion, he was attacked 
by a body of Spanish troops, far within the province of 
I'cxhas, and being overpowered by superior numbers, he 
fell a victim to his temerity. Sanguine, volatile and en- 
thusiastic, his enterprising spirit could not be restrained, 
by prudential considerations; and in colloquy, or familiar 
correspondence, the ardour of bis imagination, frequently 
transpoited him beyond the rules of ordinary expression. 
These dispositions may, I hope, excuse tlie eccentricity 
and incoherence, remarkable in one of liis letters — he was 
writing in the confidence of friendship, and to a person 
who knew how to estimate his intellect. 

I have not said, I held no private correspondence with 
the governors of Natchez and New Orleans ; but I do 
deny, tliat stjch correspondence was, of a nature, injurious 
to my country or dishonourable to myself: on the con- 
trary, it was designed, either to advance my private for- 
tune, to conciliate the interest of the two countries, or to 

* See Appendix, Xo. II. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 85 

lay tlie foundation of future fame. When I led our troops chap. 
to the occupancy of New Orleans, many of the most re- "'• 
spectable inhabitants of the proviuce of Louisiana, who 
still live, reminded me that I had said to them, sixteen 
years before, " / would one day take possession of that city 
in behalf of the United States" I have made predictions 
of higher import, and it remains within the compass of 
events to decide, whether I shall live to fulfil them; this, 
however, will depend in a great measure on the policy of 
my country. Whoever examines the letters of Nolan, 
will readily discover the motives which interested me, to 
secure to him the confidence of Gayoso. I had many 
thousand dollars, and objects of more importance than vile 
counters, at stake ; which are fully explained in the de- 
position* of Samuel P. Moore; but my views and my sue- Samuel P. 
cess, may be best comprehended from Nolan's letter of^gp^^j^j^Qj^ 
the 21st July, 1797, before alluded to. referred 

With respect to my private correspondence with Gover- °' 
nor Gayoso, of so little interest was it, so remote the 
dates, and so light the impressions left on my mind, 
that I most solemnly declare, before God and man, I can 
recollect but a single passage; — and the circumstance of Corres- 
that communication being transmitted to me by Judge with Gay- 
Innes of Kentucky, has probably brought it to my recol- °^° "'^^ 
lection. This letter was received after I had resumed 
the sword, and taken the command of our troops on the 
north-west of the Ohio, and contained a pressing invita- 
tion to me, once more to descend tlie Mississippi, with 
the promise of making my fortune if I would. To which 
I replied, it was too late; that I had re-entered the mili- 
tary service of my country, and felt an invincible repug- 
nance to the renewal of commercial adventures. 

The next paper, which it may be material to remark 
upon, is said to be a letterf from Tiiomas Power to the Thomas 

Power's 

* See Appendix, No. III. — Third Report Committee of Congress, 
Mr. Bacon chairman, p. 166. 

t See First Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Butler chaitman> 
p. 95. 



86 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Baron dc Carondclet, of the 9th May, 1797. In tliis let- 
ter. Power affects to give an account of the conveyance 
letter to ®^ ^'*^ ^^^^^ dollais to inc; ho pretends to enter into the 
the Baron most minute details of all Ids proceedings, and expressly 
clelet exa- '^'^P^'^scnis that he delivered the money to me in person; — hnt 
mined undfji hjs </t';?(W?7/o7i,* hc S7vears the same money was delivered 
with'h'ir ^^ Philip Mian, In his letter, he speaks of purchasing a 
deposition horse, to Hdc from Frankfort to Cincinnati, Judging by his 
mination deposition, it would ii]}]iQ'AV f he rode from LonisviUe toCin- 
before ihednnaiif and then to Frankfort; and it does not appear, that 
he made any journey on that occasion from Frankfort to 
Cincinnati. He states, that « after having delivered the 
money to Nolan at Louisville, in pursuance of my direc- 
tion, Nolan conveyed the barrels of sugar and coffee, in 
which the dollars were packetl, to Frankfort, where he 
(the deponent Power) saw them opened in tlie store of 
Mr. Montgomery Brown."t The object which carried 
Iiim to Frankfort is not stated ; so that it would seem that 
lie went there for the special purpose of being present, at 
the opening of the barrels, in which the money was con- 
tained; although, according to his own account, in order 
to elude suspicion^ I had previously taken the precaution of 
directing him «* to deliver the money to J^olan, that he 
(Power) might be kept out of rfew." He declares, both 
in his deposition, and on his examination before this 
court, that " the barrels of sugar and coffee, in which the 
dollars were packed, were conveyed to Frankfort;'* and he 
afterwards says, in the same deposition, that hc « sold 
the verif sugar and coffee, in which the dollars were pack- 
ed, to Mr. Mijah Hunt of CiHciiinati.'' 

In his examination before the court, he has stated, 
" that he sold to Mr. Hunt, the residue of his cargo of sugar 
and coffee, a few barrels excepted, which he had reserved, 
that he might not excite observation, by refusing to sell, iii 



* See First Report ComiTiitUc of Congress, Mr. Butler chairman, 
p. 39. 

■}■ Mr. Brown, as well as Nolan, was dead when Power made this 
deposition. Such appeals jy:e safe — they elude detection. 



GENERAL WILlvlNSON. $^ 

case a purchaser should offer; and that it might appear to CH.VP. 
be a mere mercantile adventure;'" lie has forgotten altoge- ^"• 
tlier, to give any account of the sugar and coffee sent to 
Frankfort: in which the dollars were packed^ or what he- 
came of it, although it appears to have been the whole quan- 
tity shipped at JS^ew Madrid. It is a difficult matter to 
give to fictitious tales a consistency in all their parts. 

Tlie attention hitherto paid to Mr. Power, may possi- 
bly liave appeared too particular; be assured, gentleman, 
it has not sprung from any veneration for the man, or 
doubts of his falsehood and treachery, that I have been 
thus minute ; but having entered on my defence, respect 
for my own character makes it my duty to meet my as- 
sailants of all conditions, at every point, where they pre- 
sent themselves j and Mr. Power being made the pivot, 
on which my prosecution turns, has claim to distinguish- 
ed attention ; yxt depraved as the heart of the man has 
hitherto appeared, it still remains for me, to give such 
traits of his character, such evidence of his conduct, as 
will leave no doubt on the minds of the court of his true 
merits. 

The time has been, gentlemen, when Mr. Power felt 
pride in applauding and gloried in vindicating me, whicli 
I shall prove by the testimony of his tongue and his pen. 
In the first place, permit me to recall your attention to 
the deiK)sition of Captain John Bowyer, of the second re- 
giment of infantry, before quoted at large. 

The next documents I shall offer to you, gentleman, in Silas Dins- 
application to Mr. Power, is the deposition of Silas "'"'."^'^ *^^' 

* ' ' '^ position 

Dinsmore, which is as follows.* quoted i» 

" In the month of March, 1803, 1 went on public busi-jfj^^.^jj!"^'^ 
ncss, from Fort Adams to New Orleans, by request of Ge- 
neral Wilkinson ; who gave me a large packet addressed 
to Mr. Thomas Power j in wiiich, I was informed there 
was a commission from the General for Mr. Power, for 
what specific purpose I knew not. I also received from 



* See Third Report of the Committee oT Cong-ress, Afr. Rxcor 
chairman, page 67. 



88 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
III. 



the general a cypher, for the purpose of confidential com» 
munications, a duplicate of whicli I was directed to give 
and explain to Power. In our several interviews at New 
Orleans, Mr. Power expressed a high opinion of General 
"Wilkinson, and a grateful sense of the raai'k of the Gene- 
ral's confidence, of which I had been the bearer ', he also 
expressed much satisfaction, at the expected change of 
government, that he preferred the republican form in the 
United States ; that he had chosen that as his country, 
and would avail himself of the opportunity afforded by 
the treaty, to make liis election. 

« In the year 1806, 1 met with Captain Power at New- 
Orleans, and rallied him on the use, which General Wil- 
kinson and himself had made of the money, received of 
the Spanish government, as stated in the gazette called 
" The Western World;" he avoided an answer as it re- 
spected himself, but assured me, there never was a more 
unjust or slanderous aspersion, published against any 
man, than that of the General's receiving any pension or 
bribe from the Spanish government. He said, he was 
well acquainted with governmental transactions, as in- 
terpreter, and to his certain knowledge, the Genera! 
never received a single sous, either as pension or bribe." 
I shall next present you, gentlemen, an extract from 
a letter,* addressed to me by Mr. Power, on the 
6th of February, 1803, when employed by me, as a spy. 
reb'ruary,/'^'* ^''<^ United States, to watch over the very government, 
3803, of which, he has sworn on colonel Burr's trial, before the 
quo e . jijgjj.j^,^ court, at Richmond, « he was an officer."! 
From this letter, which exhibits a compound of talent, 
hypocrisy, adulation and perfidy, you will perceive, the 
writer held no mean opinion of me, at that time, when 
he expected to be rewarded for his services and relied on 
mv munificence. 



Power's 
letter to 
General 
"Wilkin- 



* See Appendix, No. IV.— Third Report of Committee of Congress, 
Mr. Bacon chairman, page 111. 

■j- See the proceedings on Burr's trial, reported by the order of the 
president, and printed for the use of the members of the house of re- 
presentatives, second series, page 7i. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 89 

*•' To RANK AMONG THE FRIENDS OF A PERSON, OF CHAP. 
SUCH DISTINGUISHED MERIT, AS GENERAL WlLKlN- '^'" 

SON ;" (says Mr. Power in this letter) *' must confer 
HONOUR AND INSPIRE A NOBLE PRIDE j" and again in 
the same letter, ** I respect your virtues, admire 

YOUR understanding, REVERENCE AND ESTEEM YOUIl 
CHARACTER, AND SHALL EVER BE PROUD OF YOUR 
FRIENDSHIP, NOT ONLY" AS AN HONOUR, BUT AN ORNA- 
MENT." 

I now proceed to read an extract of a letter, address- 
ed to me, on the 1st of March, 1808, by Governor Clai- 
borne, read before the court of enquiry. Tlie Gover- Governor 

nor observes, that " durina: the winter of 1807, I had anp''^'' , 

*-" borne s 

interview with Thomas Power for the purpose of obtain- letter to 

inff information, relative ix> the treasonable propositions, ^?."fr^^ 

I • f I ... /. TT^ , MVilkinson 

which he had made to certani citizens of Kentucky. In of the 1st 

the course of our conversation, he declared that he had^^^^^' 

1808, quo- 
withdrarvnfrom the Spanish service; that he despised the ted in re- 

government and agents of Spain ; and was it not for los- p^'°" ^^ 
ing a large sum of money (I tliink he said 8 or 10,000 
dollars) which was due for past services, he would im- 
mediately place in my possession, the original instruc- 
tions, which he received from the Baron of Carondelet, 
and his correspondence with Messrs. Sebastian, Nicho- 
las, Innes, and many others. I recollect asking 
Power, whether General Wilkinson was direct- 
ly OR INDIRECTLY" CONCERNED, IN THE SPANISH BUSI- 
NESS ? HE ANSWERED — " NO !" and raising his hands to- 
wards heaven, exclaimed, " I CALL MY GOD TO 
WITNESS, THAT GENERAL WILKINSON IS AS 
INNOCENT AS THE CHILD UNBORN." 

Here it appears, that Mr. Power made no hesitation to 
expose his own government, and to criminate, as far as 
his word coidd do it, «' Messrs. Sebastian, Nicholas and 
many others," but instead of inculpating, he declares me 

as '« INNOCENT AS THE CHILD UNBORN." 

Thus, this Power, as late as the year 1807, " appeal- 
ing to his God, with uplifted hands, declared me inno- 

voL. ir. M 



90 MEMOIRS Bl 

CHAP, cent of tlie offence," for which I am, now, suffering the 

^^JJ;^ lasli of persecution ; and it appears from his letters and 

his conversations, that he had, previously to that period, 

revered my character, and uniformly spoke of me with 

praise. 

But, Mr. President, were not Thomas Power utterly 
-discredited by his repeated contradictions, and by the 
very respectable testimony addressed to this court; what 
stronger proof could you require of my innocence, and 
his own turpitude, than his voluntary declaration,* 
which he now, with unblushing front, swears is untrue; 
although given to me at a moment, when he could feel no 
bias, and was moved, as he says, solely by a sense of jus- 
tice. Not only the matter of this certificate, but the man- 
ner of presenting it to me, are both conclusive, against 
the artful tale he has since devised, to meet the views of 
his patron, Clark. The notef respecting Bradford, now 
delivered to the court, and dated Sunday morning, refers 
to the very circumstance which produced the certificate, 
and it was on that subject. Power was desirous to see 
me; I will now read this document, gentlemen, and the 
note in which it was transmitted to me, by Mr. Power, 
from his residence, which was nearly two miles fi'om my 
quarters. 

* See Third Report of the. Committee of Congress, Mr. Bacon 
chairman, page 119. 

f " Having been laid up, these four days, with a catarrh sore 
throat and fever, I had not an opportunity of seeing Bradford's scur- 
rilous, lyMig, contemptible attack on me, until this morning. 

•* I wish to know, if any thing, that may come from the venal pen of 
such a trifling fellow, will be any obstacle to my seeing you; and if 
not, at what hour, convenient to yourself, I may call upon you to-mor- 
row. 

" Your's siiicerely, 
(Signed) « THOMAS POWER. 

" Sunday morning. 
*' General Wilkinson''' 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 91 

« ^ew Orleans, May 16th, 1807. chap. 
« Sir, ^'i 

** I cannot in silence, behold my name employed to 

sanction the calumnies levelled at any man*s character; 

and, therefore, sir, I make you a tender of the inclosed, 

and have the honour to be, with the highest consideration^ 

« Sir, 

*( Your most obedient servant, 
(Signed) « THOMAS POWER. 

" General James fFilkinson.'* 

« DECLARATION. 

« I, Thomas Power, of the city of New Orleans, lately Thomas 
an officer in the service of Spain, moved solely by a sense ''"i^^t r 
of justice, and the desire to prevent my name from being declara- 
employed, to sanction groundless slanders, do most so- n^^e^i"'^" 
lemnly declare, that I have, at no time, carried or deli- General 
vered to General James Wilkinson, from the government ^g 15"^°" 
of Spain, or from any other person in the service of said day of 
government, cash, bills or property of any species. I^^^' ° '' 
do most solemnly declare, that said Wilkinson, to the 
best of my knowledge and belief, had no participation, 
and was a perfect stranger to the mission on which I 
visited Kentucky in the year 1797, and do, furthermore, 
most solemnly declare, that my business at Detroit, wa^s 
to deliver an official letter from the Baron Carondelet to 
General Wilkinson ,• that, on my arrival at Detroit, the 
General was absent, and I found the place under the 
command of Colonel Sti'ong, by whom I was received 
with the greatest hospitality and treated with kindness 
and civility ; being left at perfect liberty to visit every 
part of the town and its neighbourhood, the fort except- 
ed, during the few days I remained there, waiting for 
General Wilkinson's return from Michillimakinac^ who, 
immediately placed mc under strict restraint, not per- 
mitting me to stir out of Colonel Sti'ong's quarters, with- 
out being accompanied by an officer, who was instructed 
to keep a watchful eye over me. That the General do- 



93 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP., livcred me liis answer to the Baron Carondelet's letter, 
on the second day after his return to Detroit, and sent 
me in charge of an officer, by the nearest route, to Fort 
Massac, and from thence to New Madrid, notwithstand- 
in.!^ I protested against this step, and demanded, that I 
might return by tiie Falls of the Ohio, wliere a boat and 
crew waited for me. 1 further declare, that I am ready 
to testify the truth of the preceding facts. 

« Given in New Orleans, this 16th day of May, 1807. 
(Signed) «* THOMAS POWER." 

The tenor of this certificate from Thomas Power, is in 
perfect conformity with his previous, voluntary, repeated 
declarations of my innocence; proved to have been made 
by him, to Captain Bowyer, in May or June, 1799 — to 
Mr. Dinsmorc, in the year 1806 — and coiifirmed by his 
subsequent declaration to Governor Claiborne, in the 
winter 1807. The certificate is conceived in the most 
ample and solemn terms, and concludes with declaring 
his (Power's) readiness to testify to the truth of the facts 
contained in it. On liis examination before the court, 
Mr. Power did, indeed, desire of you, gentlemen, <• to 
observe that the certificate was not under oath ;" but in 
estimating the veracity of a witness, can belief be re- 
posed in one, who, according to his own statement, has 
freely and most solemnly declared to facts, which he now 
avers he knew to be false at the time; and wlm, in sub- 
scribing that declaration witli his own hand, avowed his 
willingness to swear to the trutli of its contents; al- 
though, to use his own coarse expression befoi'e tliis 
court, "there v.as not an inhabitant in New Orleans, but 
knew it to be a lie !" I doubt not, you will agree with 
me, gentlemen, that such a man, if he found it expedient, 
would be as ready to perjure himself to establish my 
guilt, as he was prompt to sign that declaration of my 
innocence, which he now endeavours to falsify. He pre- 
tends in his vindication, which I shall presently notice, 
«« that he refused to insert the words < directly or indi- 
rectly,' in his certificate, and these words being left out. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 93 

as he delivered the money to my agent, Mr. Nolan, and chap. 
not to me, that, therefore, he might with a safe con- ^"' 
science swear, he never delivered me any money.'* 
But setting aside this contemptible prevarication, it is 
further to be remarked, gentlemen, that Power has also 
declared in his certificate, that I had no participation in, 
and was a perfect stranger to, the mission on wliich he 
visited Kentucky in the year 1797 ; now, I would en- 
quire, how he could profess himself ready, to swear to 
that part of his declaration, if there is any ti'uth what- 
ever in his feigned narrative,* of that mission, presented Power's 
to Governor Gayoso the 5th of December of the same "o Gover- 
3'ear, in which he enters into a particular detail of his noi' Gayo- 
interview and conversation with me, relative to " the g° 'e^JjJon 
proposals of the Bai'on de Carondelet?'* It is utterly to Ken- 
impossible to reconcile these contradictory statements : DetroiUn 
the fact is, that the declarations made by Power to the 1797. 
gentleman already mentioned, and his certificate to me, 
which he was willing to confirm by his oath, contain no- 
thing but the truth; while the depositions, which he has 
since been tempted to give, present a jumble of contradic- 
tions and falsehoods : the difference is, then, that I have 
proved, and shall prove, that what Power has cej-tifed is 
true, and that which he has sworn to is false; while he, 
witli unblushing impudence, contends in the face of the 
world, that what he has repeatedly, deliberately, and so- 
lemnly declared and certified, is false; but that, in consi- 
deration OF HIS SPOTLESS EAME, you must bclicve the 
contradictions he lias since sworn to, are entirely true. 
The different motives he has assigned for giving this 
false certificate, as he represents it to be, now remain to 
be examined. 

In the paper which he styles his vindication, originally Power's 
published in the Pliiladelphia Gazette, a short time after ^'"j^^*^^^j^.^ 
he appeared before the court at Richmond, during Burr's conduct 
trial (which was one of the paper's laid before Congress '^^ g'^'"S 



• See rirst Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Butler chairman, 
p. 130. 



94i MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, by Mr. Randolph, and has been exhibited by Power hiin- 
"* self, in evidence to this court), he suggests, tliat "m 
General poUticSt morality is not to be measured by the same narrow 
Wilkinson F-cakf OS that which ought to regulate the moral conduct of 
cateTpub- *"^" Ml private concerns; and that he being a secret agent 
lished in of tlie Spanish government, and I being a pensioner of 
cielphia * ^^^ ^^"^ government, he should have been unworthy of 
Gazette in the confidence of his government, if he had ref<.sed to 

1 807 

give any dornment, tliat might contribute to rviise me 
in the good opinion of the admin istrati>n of my country; 
to blazon my integrity and patriotism, and fortif^y mr in 
their confidence; and by these meanSf enlarge my power of 
injuring my own country^ and serving the Spanish govern- 
ment." Snch is one of the motives, which he insinuates 
in his vindication, might have influenced him to give me 
a certificate, which, he says, I asked, if he had " any ob- 
jection to give me, that it might help me to silence that 
foul-mouthed Bradford, and refute the assertions of the 
editors of the < Westr^rn World.' 1 replied (says he) that 
I had no objection, and would give him a certificate with 
pleasure, provided, he promised me, it should not 
«E published. On this he (that is. General Wilkin- 
son,) assured me, that the only use he purposed to make 

of it, WAS TO LAY IT BEFORE THE PRESIDENT, WITH A 
VIEW, TO PROVE THE FALSEHOOD OF THE CHARGES CIR- 
CULATED AGAINST HIM, VINDICATE HIS CHARACTEKj 
AND SECURE THE CONFIDENCE OF THE EXECUTIVE." If 

there was any truth whatever in this statement, I would 
observe, that the allusion Power here makes to Brad- 
ford's publication against me, is a circumstance which 
must forcibly recall to your recollection, gentlemen, the 
short note, addressed to me by Power at New Orleans, 
a few days before the certificate was given ; in which, he 
adverts to those veiy publications of Bradford, which 
were, in fact, the occasion of his voluntarily tendering 
me this certificate, as I have already observed to the 
court. But what sort of consistency, and what degree 
of probability, is there in any part of these explana- 
tions, suggested by the witness in his vindication? I 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 95 

asked him for a certificate it seems, and he gave me one, chap. 
« to help me to silence that foul'inouthed Bradford^' and yet 
the only use I promised him sliould be made of the certi- 
ficate, when obtained, was to lay it before the President. 
I wanted his certificate, it appears, « to help me to refute the 
editors of the Western World:'' he gave it without hesitation, 
and with pleasure, and yet it was not to be published. Can 
you, gentlemen, conceive a more extraordinary expedient, 
for " silencing Bradford and refuting the Western World)' 
than for Mr. Thomas Power to put me in possession of a 
document, of which I was bound to make no other use, 
than to shew it to the President of the United States : 
which the public were not to see, and which I pledged 
myself, sliould not appear in print? But in a country 
like ours, where every thing depends on popular opinion, 
if it was stipulated by me, that no one but the President 
was to read Mr. Power's certificate, I would also ask, 
what possible advantage, could I have expected to derive 
from it in the puhlic estimation, by which the President 
himself must be in a great degree governed ? And by what 
secret means, was it, that this certificate was to operate, 
according to Mr. Power's phraseology, so as « to hla%on 
my patriotism and integrity^ and enlarge my power of in- 
juring my own country and serving Spain?** And how 
was this power, of injuring the one and of serving the 
other, to he exerted? There was nothing in the circum- 
stances of the two countries, at that period, to threaten 
a conflict of interests ; the pretended Spanish conspiracy 
had long ago ceased; the conflicts about the navigation 
of the Mississippi were silenced; Louisiana was actually 
in the possession of the United States; the Spanish power 
on the Mississippi and in its vicinity was reduced to a mere 
name; and, according to Power's own narrative to Go- 
vernor Gayoso, of his mission in 1797, before referred to, 
I then renounced the connexion, and told him, <♦ / had de- 
stroyed my cypher, torn all my correspondence with the 
Spanish government, and that my duty and honour would 
no longer permit me to continue it."" 



96 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP*. But as if conscious, at the moment ot his publi- 

^^^"^^ CATION, IN THE PHILADELPHIA GazETTE, that llis first 

position was equally absurd and incredible, lie proceeds 
to abandon it altogether, and *< to take, what he calls, 
that ground of defence, which is consistent with fact." 
He affects to decorate me with every engaging " quality 
that can conciliate affection j he professes the attachment 
which he himself felt for me, in common with others ; de- 
scribes the difficult situation, in which I was suddenly 
placed in New Orleans ; and the hatred, virulence and 
animosity, which I had incurred, by the measures taken 
to suppress Burr's conspiracy ; and after dwelling upon 
that state of things, wliich induced him to consider me a 
persecuted man, notwithstanding he could not approve of 
my illegal and arbitrary measures," he then speaks of 
what was « the suggestion of his heart, and the whisper of 
friendship, and the disposition of mind in which he resolved 
to go some lengths to sei-ve me, and signed the certifcate ;" 
and by so doing, in the sequel of his piece, he " pleads 
guilty of an equivocation, flowing from sentiments of huma- 
nity, benevolence andfnendship." <« But," he adds, « note 
it'^with the firm persuasion, that it was not intended to be 
laid before any tribunal, iwr in any shape to meet the pub- 
lic eye^" thus then, all the effect of this whisper of 
FRIENDSHIP, and suggestion of Mr. Power's generous 
heart, which made him resolve to go some lengths to 
serve me, consisted, merely, in consenting to sign a certi- 
ficate ; which was not, on any account, to be used, in 
order to satisfy the public mind, when it might have 
been most important for me, to obviate tlie slanders 
which were then publicly propagated on this subject j but 
which was only to satisfy the mind of the President, 
whose mind was already convinced, and by whom, it was 
well known, no doubts of my integrity weie entertained. 
It was, to be sure, a most lame and impotent effort of friend- 
ship in Mr. Power ; and yctthisis assigned as the governing 
motive ; indeed, it appears to be the only reason upon which 
he relies, in his vindication, for having given mc the cer- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 97 

tificatp. But as if unmindful or doubtful of the ground CHAP, 
which he had thus taken in explanation of his conduct, ^"" 
when Mr. Power is called upon, or rather when he un- 
dertakes, of his own accord, to explain himself before 
this court, another new motive occurs to his iinaj^ination 
for having' furnished me the certificate, which was, that 
he might « continue to serve the Spanish government in 
whose employment he still wns,^' As to Mr. Power's em- 
ployment in the Spanish service, I would barclj remark, 
that in the certificate he represents himself, not as being 
then in the Spanish service, but as being " latchj an offi- 
cer in the service of Spain;''^ and in fact, we find by Go- 
vernor Folch's declaration* that " he never considered 
Don Thomas Power as an officer in the service of his 
Catholic Majesty; his commission being only tliat of a 
militia officer, witliout the sanction of the King, and that 
the last ertployment, of any kind, for which Power was 
selected, under the Spanish government, was in the year 
1797." Be pleased, gentlemen, to compare tliis testi- 
mony of Governor Folch, with Power's evidencef before 
the district court, at Richmond, in which he declared on 
oath, that «< he was, at that time, a Spanish officer, and a 
Spanish subject, and %vas therefore, not compellable to an- 
swer the questions as put to him." Let us liowever sup- 
pose, for a moment, tl»at Power, as he pretends, was ac- 
tually in the employment of the Spanish government in 
May 1807, when the certificate was given,* I would again 
enquire how his pretended motive, of continuing to serve 
the Spanish government, was to be gratified, by putting 
that paper into my hands, under a promise from me, 
that it should not pass into any other hands, but those of 
the President of the United States? In what conceivable 
way was the objecPro be attained by this proceeding? or 
how was his ability, or my ability to serve the Spanish 

* See Third Report of the Committee of Congress, Mr. Bacon 
chiiirman, pages 48, 49. 

f See the proceedings on Burr's trial, reported by order of the Pre- 
sident, second series, page 74. 

vol. n. N 



98 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, government, at that period, to be pi'omolcd by a secret 
'" certificate, which, if we believe Mr. Power, was to have 
been kept in siicli inviolable concealment from every pro- 
fane eye, that he considers tlie publication of it a cause 
of such provocation, as justified him in betraying the con- 
fidence of his employers, and exposins^ my presumed cor- 
ruption to the world. Mr. Power, it will be remember- 
ed, had declared on oath, before the court at Richmond, 

« THAT HE COUXD NOT, CONSISTENTLY WITH HONOUR, 
ANSWER ANY Q^UESTION", WHICH MIGHT OPERATE 
AGAINST THE KiNG HIS MASTER; THAT HE WOULD NOT 
ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS IN WHICH, THE KiNG HIS 

MASTER, WAS IMPLICATED,*" and hc exclaimcd, "what 

WOULD BE THE AMOUNT OF THE DEPOSITION OF A MAN, 
WHO, IN THE VERY ACT OF DEPOSING, WAS BREAKINfi 
HIS MOST SACRED ENGAGEMENTS, AND PRONOUNCING 

HIMSELF A PERJURED VILLAIN !" The court will also 
bear in mind, that the occasion of all this solemn parade 
of conscientious mystery, was nothing more than a ques- 
tion repeated to him, by Colonel Burr, '< whether he knetu 
of any correspomlcnce in cypher by General Wilkinson tvith 
the Baron de Carondelct ?" Now, although it is ti'ue, that in 
the vindication which he soon after published, hc has not, 
in direct terms, undertaken to give a particular detail of 
such imputed correspondence, yet is there any man, Avho 
has read his vindication, who does not at once perceive, 
that it is the object of the writer, by the most malevolent 
devices, to make the impression upon the mind of every 
reader, that I had been engiiged in an illicit connexion, 
and corrupt intrigue with the Spanish government, of 
which Mr. Power himself had been the secret agent ? 
How then, and with what callous c Ifrojitery is \t, that he 
should still insist, in the close of his^ndication, that b} 
the exposition then made, hc " had not deviated ok 

DEROGATED FROM THE DECLARATIONS CONTAINED IN 
HIS ADDRESS TO THE RICHMOND COURT?" and hoW is 

it possible, that Mr. Power should escape the cfTect of his 
own stigma, by which he stands self-condemned and self- 
recorded as <* A PERJURED VILLAIN?" 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 99 

The pi-etencc* of which he first tried to avail hinisell', chap. 



as stated by Power to Mr. Harper, was simply this ; 
" that the publication of the certificate, by me, at a time 
when I knew be was summoned as a witness on Buit's 
trial, was calculated to injure tbe reputation of him 
(Power), by holding him up as a person, who bad certi- 
fied one thing, and was ready to testify to another; that 
tlierefore, to justify himself, he was determined to pub- 
lish the whole affair. Sec. if he could procure the permis- 
sion of the Marquis de Casa Yrujo, the Spanish minis- 
ter; and that he was going to Pliiladelphia, for the pur- 
pose of procuring such perinission." Mr. Power, how- 
ever, has not told us that lie did make any attempt to 
procure such permission; nor is there any evidence what- 
ever, that he made any application to the Marquis de 
Yrujo on tlie subject; and there is abundant evidence 
tefore tliis court to show, that the real purpose of his visit 
to Pldladelphia, was not to consult the Spanish minis- 
ter, but to unite himself to a profligate cabal then in that 
city, and said to be assembled at " the Mansion House," 
with whom Power was to concert the measures to be 
taken against me, and by whom he undoubtedly expected 
liis services were to be well rewarded; accordingly, after 
liaving affected to seek permission from the Marquis de 
Yrujo, to silence his conscience, w ithout pretending that 
such permission had been applied for, he not only comes 
forth, in the Pliiladelphia Gazette, with his statement, 
which was in itself calculated, to betray the whole secret 
of my alleged connexion with Spain ; but he also puts 
into the possession of my inveterate enemy, Daniel 
Clark, all the documents he had forged, in order to sub- 
stantiate that statement. True it is, Power asserts on 
oath before the court, " that Mr. Clark, in making the uae 
he afterwards did of those documents f was guilty of violat- 
ing the most solemn and sacred promisCf by which he was 
bound not to let them he published, but to frank and for- 

* See Third Report of the Committee of Conijress, of which ISIr. 
Bacon was chairman, page 140. 



III. 



100 MEMOIRS BV 

CHAP, ward them, sheet by sheet, back again to Power at New 
^'^" Orleans." But the very art of entrusting' to Daniel 
Clark and his partner, Daniel W. Coxe, tljosc fictitious 
evidences of my guilt, in which " the interest of Mr. Porv- 
er*s Roijal Master rvas implicated,^' would induce a belief, 
that all Mr. Power's scruples, proclaimed at Richmond, 
imder the solemnity of an oath, were suddenly forgotten, or 
removed by some magical influence. What that influence 
was, it is scarcely necessary to conjecture. Mr. Power 
in one of his old letters to me, which has been read to 
the court, in speaking of the same Daniel Clark, has 
himself described *' the pernicious ascendancy -which money 
has over the heart and soul of a mercenary man.'' Is it not 
probable that in this instance, he who had so well des- 
cribed the influence of gold, miglit have been also brought 
to feel its effects ? 

In the commencement of his vindication, Power has re- 
ferred to a piece inserted by himself in a Richmond news- 
paper, containing an account of his own appeai'anco, and 
examination before the court, which he published soon af- 
ter that examination took place, and a few days before my 
publication of his certificate,* after which, he remarks 
in his A indication, that *< between Jds repeated declarations 
to many of his friends and acquaintances, (he must say it 
with a blush,') and that certificate, there rvas a manifest 
contradiction; — and that between the certificate, and the de- 
ductions to be drawn from his declaration, before the Rich- 
mond court, there was an apparent inconsistency, which it 
ivas now his task to clear up and reconcile." Such Is the 
reason, and sucli the provocation adduced by himself, to 
justify the disclosure which he was then about to make, 
and which has since been followed up, by a vciy conve- 
^lient and complete supply of narratives, letters and de- 
positions. 

In order to expose the futility and falsehootl of these 
pretences, let us for a momeiit suppose, that I had ac- 
tually promised Power not to publish his certificate, where 
was the injury done to liis charjictcr, by that publica- 



GENERAL WILKINSOIN. 101 

1 ion, which could have provoked him to violate all those chap. 
obligations of fidelity on his part, which he had profess- "'• 
ed to feel with so much sanctity? In his statement to Mr. 
Harper, lie seemed to consider the outrage, as consisting 
ill my publication of the certificate, at a time when I knew 
he was summoned as a witness on Burr's trial. But iu 
his vindication, the offence committed by me, appears to 
have been, in publishing the certificate after he w as ex- 
amined as a witness on Burr's trial, and after he Iiad 
given to the public, his own account of his examination. 
But if the court will read over that account, which is 
marked No. 1. in Power's vindication, ajid is contained 
in the newspaper with which Power has furnished the 
Judge Advocate, and particularly, the latter part of it, 
in which he speaks of the innocence of my correspon- 
dence, in cypher, with Carondelet, and of the receipt of 
monies by me, from the Spanish government on the score 
of my tobacco transactions, which were two subjects, he 
there says, he had professed a willingness before the 
court to be examined upon, under oath. If the court 
will examine this statement by Power, of his own evi- 
dence, with which the printed report of Burr's trial sub- 
stantially agrees, as far as it goes, it will be immediate- 
ly perceived, that the certificate, whether true or false, 
w^as not published in contradiction of any thing, which 
Power himself had at that time cither said or written. 
There w as, in truth, no variance between them, and it 
was therefore a false pretence which he made to Mr. 
Harper, *< that the publication of the certificate by me, 
was calculated to hold him up as a person, xvho had cer- 
tified one thing and was ivilling to swear to another.'* Nor 
does there appear to be less falsehood in the remarks, 
advanced in his vindication, that his previous " repeated 
declarations to many of his friends and acquaintances were 
lnconsis,tent with, or in contradiction to his certificate." 
On the contrary, so far as his declarations are in evi- 
dence, it would seem, from the respectable testimony of 
Captain Bowyer, Mr. Dinsmorc, and Governor Clai- 
borne, that, at different and distant periods of tiijie^ 



103 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. PoAvol' had been in the habit, wherever the occasion rc- 
^^*- quired it, of avowing and asserting my innocence ; until 
at last, during a very critical and interesting moment, 
lie came forward, of his own accord, in a more formal 
manner, to make me a tender of his certificate, with a 
protestation of its truth, unsought for by me, and dictat- 
ed as he says, " solely by a sense of justice, and a 

DESIRE TO PREVENT HIS NAME FROM BEING EMPLOYED, 
TO SANCTION GROUNDLESS CALUMNIES AND SLANDERS, 
AGAINST ANY MAN's CHARACTER." It IS impossible to 

believe, gentlemen, if Power were twice as corrupt as he 
is, tliat it was the appearance of liis certificate in print, 
which provoked the display of his malevolence^ or that, 
in any part of his subsequent course of conduct, he has 
been actuated by any motives of regard for character or 
reputation. The unexceptionable testimony of Major 
Russell,-* and the depositions of George Mather esq., and 
Colonel William Wikolf, both of them men of higli and 
independent rank and fortune, and untarnished honour, 
would be alone sufficient to satisfy the court, that Power 
has no character or reputation left; and that he is 
considered to be, where he is best known, " the venal de- 
pendant of Daniel Clark.'' We need not then look to any 
other motive for an explanation, of all his wanton preva- 
rications, and that hideous and wicked combination of 

* Extract of the examiiiHtion of Major G. C. Russell, taken before 
the Court Martial, of which Krigadier-general Ganseroort was Presi- 
dent. 

Qiieitiori by the priooner. Are you acquainted on the Mississippi ? 

Ansiver. I served several years in the Orleans and Mississippi 
territories. 

Question by the same. "What is the general character of Thomas 
Power ? 

Ansiuer. I know nothing of him myself, but never heard him spo- 
ken of in any other terms than those of infamy, rAiiTicuiAUi,Y ix 

BESPECT TO HIS VERACITT. 

Question by the Judje Advocate. From what description of persons 
did you hear this character of Thomas Power, the old settlers of the 
country, or of the new American popvilation ? 

Ansiver. I have heard him spoken of frequently, both by cilizcjis 
and officers iu Jjolh tewitories, the Mississippi and Orleans. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 108 

perjuries and forgeries, of which Power has been made CHAP, 
the miserable and disgusting instrument. I was about, ^"* 
gentlemen, in proof of his infamy, to refer to what is 
said of him by another conspicuous witness, on the part 
of the prosecution ; but it must be totally unnecessary, 
when in addition to Major Russell's representation of 
Power's character, I have the statement of such men as 
Mr. Mather and Colonel Wikoff, whose affidavits I shall 
insert on this record of my defence. Tliese depositions 
also apply to the character of Daniel Clark, whose testi- 
mony I shall presently examine. The characters of the 
deponents, Messrs. Mather and Wikoff, are intrinsically 
above reproach, and have received from Colonel Ballin- 
ger, a w itness summoned in support of the prosecution, 
a jtist encomium. 

Deposition of George Mather, Esq. 

<* I believe I have known Daniel Clark esq., since 
1784, being about the time he first arrived in Louisiana; 
I considered New Orleans as his place of residence j I 
j'csided twenty -two yeai's v, ithin six leagues of New Or- 
leans; the balance of the time near Baton Rouge; on 
the said Daniel Clark's first arrival in this country, and 
for several years after, he was considered an honest, in- 
dustrious young man; but from 1792-93 or 94, his ge- 
neral character for veracity, probity and honour, has been 
bad ; He is known to possess a spiiit viniUctivcly malig- 
nant, and great animosity towards those he dislikes, and 
he possesses a very slanderous tongue ; his politics have 
been professeiTly French, Spanish, and American in turn. 
Tliomas Power's character is considered very bad, for 
probity or honour; and the public voice has denounced 
him, as a venal dependant of Daniel Clark. 

"GEO: MATHER. 

« Sworn to and subscribed before the undei"signed» 
Judge of the Parish of East Baton Rouge, in the Terri- 
tory of Orleans, this 1 3th day of October, Anno Do- 
mini 1811. 

"ANDREW STEELE." 



104 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Deposition of Colonel William IfikoJ'. 

if At the instance of Lieutenant-colonel Z. M. I'ikc,'* 
the friend and agent of General Wilkinson, I William 
Wikoff jun. being of lawful age, declare on the Holy 
Evangelists of Almighty God, that I have known Daniel 
Clark since the year 1788; that, from that date until 
May 180*, the period of my removal to Baton Rouge, 
the said Daniel Clark and myself resided in the city of 
New Orleans ; that the general character of the said Da- 
niel Clark, for veracity, probity, integrity and candour, 
since the year 1795 has been bad; he possesses a vin- 
dictive spirit, and a very slanderous tongue; I have 
known him at different times, as it suited his interest I 
presume, to profess himself a Scotchman, a Spaniard, 
and an American. I knew Daniel Clark a member of the 
corps of Caribiners, a highly privileged co'rps, the life- 
guard of the Governor-general of the province of Loui- 
siana; no person was considered as qualified to serve in 
said corps, who had not talvcn the oath of allegiance. 
The general character of Thomas Power, for honour, 
truth and veracity, is very bad, and he has always been 
considered a venal dependant of Daniel Clark. 

" Wm. wikoff, Jux. 

« Sworn to and subscribed before the undersigned 
Judge of the Parish of East Baton Rouge, in the Terri- 
tory of Orleans, this IStli day of October, Anno Do- 
,ni,u 1811. " ANDREW STEELE ." 

Having shewn, that the motives assigned by Power? 
could not have been the real motives, for the insidious and 
atrocious attempts which he has made upon my charac- 
ter, and having also shewn, that he has been acting as the 
corrupt instrument of Daniel Clark and others ; it may 
next be enqiiired, whether any other motive of revenge or 
personal hostility, has governed his conduct, and has 
converted him, from being a warm and constant eulogist, 
into an unrelenting slanderer. It is not for me to fathom 
* The late gallant Bbigabiek-gesehal Pike, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 105 

the recesses of tlie human heart, and to ascertain the giiap. 
fluctuations of its courses and currents; but I may be ^"■ 
permitted to present for your consideration, a fact, from 
which charity itself would not be condemned, for draw- 
ing a conclusion unfavourable to the morality of Mr* 
Power. 

On the 8th of March, 1807, Mr. Power addressed to 
me in New Orleans the following note.* 

« Dear General, 

** To morrow is the day on which I shall have a con- 
siderable payment to make. I have not been able to col- 
lect the whole sum; and if I cannot make up the defi- 
ciency (which is five Imndi'ed dollai's), I shall be ruined ; 
I therefore in my distress take the liberty of applying to 
you, and beg you will do me the favour to lend me that 
sum, which you may depend shall be returned to you be- 
foi-e the end of tlie month; a service which shall be grate- 
fully acknowledged by 

" Dear Sir, 

" Your most obedient servant, 
(Signed) *« THOMAS POWER, 

if General James WilkinsonJ* 

The supplicatory style of this letter, carries with it no 
indication, that I was dependant for fame and character 
on the silence, tlie discretion, or good will of the sup- 
plicant; and my refusal of the loan countenances a very 
different conclusion. Succeeding incidents however, soon 
after I left New Orleans, induced the suspicion that my 
refusal had made an unfriendly impression^ and that 
Power's poverty had yielded to tlie corrupting artifices 
of Mr. Clark, who arrived in that city two days before 
my departure from it. The deposition of Doctor Pen- 
dergrast,f exhibits certain waverings of mind, in relation 
to his (Power's) future conduct. 

* See Third Report Comir.ittee of Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, 
p. 118. 

t Ibid, page 66. 

vox. II. O 



106 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 



Deposition of Doctor Pendergrast. 

« Personally appeared before me, the subscriber, one 
of the justices of the peace for the county of Washington, 
Garrett Elliott Pendergrast, and made oath on the Holy 
Evangelists of Almighty God, that some time in tlie 
months of August or September, in the year of our Lord 
1807, Mr. Thomas Power called on him at his house, in 
New Orleans, where a conversation took place with him, 
the said Power, respecting his being summoned as a wit- 
ness in Burr's trial in Richmond. The deponent en- 
quired particularly what he, the said Power, knew re- 
specting Burr's treason, or General Wilkinson's supposed 
(•onnexion with the Spaniards. The reply of the said 
Power was, that he could say nothing, that could possibly 
affect either of the characters of these gentlemen; and 
that if he was compelled to attend the trial, it would not 
be before his debts were paid. This last expression was 
spoken with an air of peculiar significance, as if lie wish- 
ed to convey the idea, that he must be well paid for going 
to Richmond, by the friends of Burr, 

« Sworn to before me this 5th of May, 1808. 

(Signed) " THO: CORCORAN." 



Observa- i^^t US combine the evidence of these documents, v. ith 
tions on ^he course of conduct, since pursued by Power and his 

Thomas „. , i i • • x i 

Power's patron Mr. Clark, and the sinister concert and corrup- 

testimony. l•^^^Yl, must be manifest to every man of candour and intel- 
ligence. I presume, gentlemen, it is unnecessary for me 
to go into any further explanation of the character of 
this man, to satisfy you of his inconsistency and depra- 
vity of heart. By his own confessions, and by the testi- 
mony of others, he has been made to appear to you, as 
utterly lost to probity and principle; telling at one time 
a tale, which at another he contradicts ; — now solemnly 
averring my innocence, and then declaring me guilty ; — 
profe.ssing his disregard to truth in political concerns; — 
demanding money of me, and being refused; — arraying 
himself with my enemies ; — acknowledging his pecuniary 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 107 

difficulties, and professing his determination, not to attend chap^ 
Burr's trial until his debts were paid; — embarking with >J."i„^ 
Mr. Clark at New Orleans, and accompanying him to 
Richmond ; — swearing before tlie court there, that he 
WAS A Spanish officer, after he had previously de- 
clared to Governor Claiborne, he had withdrawn 
FROM THAT SERVICE, and when, in truth, he was no such 
officer; — declaring on his oath, that he could answer no 
question which went to affect " his royal master, with- 
out PRONOUNCING HIMSELF A PERJURED VILLAIN," and 

yet, soon after furnishing his patron, Mr. Clark, with 
documents to confirm his representation of the sinister 
intrigues, of the officers of his royal master, against the 
interests of these states, and thereby, according to his 
own testimony at Richmond, perjuring himself, ipso /acfo. 
All these circumstances, together with the general infamy 
of his character, so strongly connected, and so well esta- 
blished, will, I trust, suffice to satisfy you, gentlemen, 
that Mr. Thomas Power is altogether unworthy of cre- 
dit, and that his testimony ought not on any occasion to 
be received in evidence. 



108 



MEMOIRS Bt 



CHAP. 
IV. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Daniel Clark* s deposition delivered to the Hoiisc of Represeitr 
tatives, January lith, 1808. — General Wilkinson's Jirst 
visit to JWw Orleans f June^ 1787. — His motives for it, — 
Daniel Clark's memoir presented to the secretary of state. 
Colonel Pickering, in 1797. — Oliver Pollock'' s deposition 
referred to. — Project of the Baron Steuben in 1787. — En- 
terprise of Colonel George Morgan in 1789. — General 
Wilkinson revisits JYew Orleans in 1789. — Leads an ex- 
pedition against the Indians in 1791. — He re-enters the 
service in December of the same year. — Colonel Daniel 
Clark's letters referred to. — Daniel Clark's correspond- 
ence. — Argument on the inconsistency of his statements, 
— Testimony of Doctor Carmichael, Doctor Elmer, the 
late Colonel Scott, and Colonel Kingsbury, referred to, — 
Observations on Daniel Clark's letters and statements. — ■ 
Daniel Clark's letter in 1803 to secretary Madison, — Ob- 
servations on the same. — General Samuel Smith's letter, 
and Oliver Pollock's deposition, referred to. — Clark's 
statement falsified by the evidence of Governor Wright, 
the Honourable Willis Mston,jun. and Colonel W. Lowry. 
— General ,Smilh's testimony covfrmcd by the Honourable 
Walter Jones, 



Daniel 
Clark's 
testimony 
examined. 



From the painful examination of the testimony of 
Mr. Power, I proceed to that of Mr. Daniel Clark, wlio 
has presented himself as ray leading accuser. 

Referring to his statement* on oath, presented to the 
House of Representatives in January 1808, after exe- 
VEN DAYS OF PREPARATION, and now offered in evidence 
to this court, I, in the first place, do affirm, that his un- 
cle was not rich, and that 1 was not introduced by him 



* See Appendix, No. V. — First Report Committee of Congress, 
W. Butler chairman, p. 147. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 109 

to the Spanish governor, or any other officer at New Or- CHAP, 
leans. I landed at that city, for the first time, in June, IV. 
1787, a perfect stranger (for, although I had seen Mr. ''"^'^''^^^ 
Clark, the elder, in Philadelphia, I had no acquaintance 
with him), and was escorted directly to tlie Government 
House, hy a corporal of the guard, stationed at my place 
of landing. I named myself to Governor Miro, and after 
some conversation, proceeded to visit the intendant Na- 
varro and contador Oro ; and on the same day, I was 
so happy as to be permitted to take quarters, with the fa- 
mily of my respectable, dear and honoured friends. Doc- 
tor and Madam Dow, where Mr. Daniel Clark sen., vi- 
sited me the ne.xt day, and thus commenced our acquaint- 
ance. I mention these unimportant circumstances, to 
expose a flash of family ostentation and pride in the ne- 
phew, and to sliew that my chief accuser, begai> with 
falsehood, from which, it will be perceived, he has not 
deviated in the smallest degree. 

In respect to my concerns with the Spanish govern- 
ment, the nature of them will be best explained, by ad- 
verting to the then situation of Kentucky, and the motives 
by which I had been induced to settle in that country, 
about the conclusion of the revolutionary war. My cir- 
cumstances being at that period far from affluent, it be- 
came my duty to a young and beloved family, to endea- 
vour, by all honourable means, to advance my fortune. 
For this purpose, I abandoned the society of my friends 
and relations, and, I might add, the sweets of polished 
life; but on my arrival in Kentucky, my expectations 
were damped by the obstructions, which the Spaniards 
opposed to the free navigation of the Mississippi. The 
feelings which those obstructions had excited, and the ne- 
glect which appeared to prevail on the part of the Atlan- 
tic states, to the interests of the western people, are elo- 
quently and forcibly expressed in the petition, which tlie 
convention, delegated by the citizens of Kentucky for the 
purpose, addressed to the government of the United 
States, about the year 1787, on the subject of their griev- 
ances. It is notorious that the measures of the federal 



110 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, administratioir were, at tliat time, feeble and dilatory. 
^^' The formation of the national compact, under which we 
have acquired political importance, was then under con- 
sideration ; but, it was uncertain at what period the 
rights of Kentucky, to the navigation of the Mississippi, 
would be asserted and acknowledged. The pressure of 
these circumstances, produced my firsi v-yage to New Or- 
leans, with a view to promote my own fortune, and to be- 
nefit my fellow citizens, by awakening the Spanish go-' 
vernment of Louisiana, to a just sense of its interests, 
and thereby to effect the commercial intercourse, which 
was indispensable to the prosperity of the western coun- 
try. The success of my visit; the manner in wliich that 
success was effected ; and the public benefits which result- 
ed from it, I will take the liberty of stating in the words 
of Mr. Clark himself, as extracted from a memoir*, now 
in evidence before t!ie court, confidentially transmitted 
to the Honourable Timothy Pickering, when secretary of 
state, in the year 1797 ; at a time, when Mr. Clark was 
labouring to recommend himself to our government, and 
acted without personal bias, or the prejudices of faction. 
He gives me more credit for stratagem and talents than 
I merit ; but his statement is substantially correct, and it 
is corroborated by the testimony of Oliver Pollock,| who, 
on his oath, declares, " Governor Miro inforimd me, in the 
year 1791, he had granted General Wilkinson permission to 
bring tobacco to JV*ew Orleans, in order to keep quiet the peo 
pie oj Kentucky, until the two governments could bring their 
differences to a close, by an amicable arrangement.'* Mr. 
Clark's report, a free and voluntary offering, proves 
what were his impressions on the subject when he wrote, 
and it constitutes the best evidence in my favour, because 
it is the production of the pen of an avowed eniemy. The 
following extract from Mr. Clark's memoir, gives me 
credit for enterprise and patriotism. "He, General 
Wilkinson, was advised to insist, that the Go 



* See Appendix, No. VI. 

t See Third Report Committee of Congress, page 28. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. Hi 

VERNOR SHOULD INSURE HIM A MARKET, FOR ALL THE CHAP. 
FLOUR AND TOBACCO HE MIGHT SEND, RS in the eVCllt of ^^' 

an unfortunate shipment, he should be ruined, whilst en- 
deavouring to do a service to Louisiana. This was ac- 
cepted, AND FOR some TIME ALL THE TRADE FROM 

THE Ohio, was carried on in his name; a line from 
liim sufficing to ensure to the owner of the boat, every 
privilege and protection he could desire. On granting 
this privilege to Wilkinson, the government 

CAME TO A resolution, OF ENCOURAGING EMIGRATION 
FROM THE WESTERN COUNTRY, AND OFFERED PASSPORTS 
TO ALL SETTLERS, WITH AN EXEMPTION OF DUTY, ON 
ALL THE PROPERTY THEY MIGHT BRING WITH THEM, 
INVESTED IN THE PRODUCE OF THE COUNTRY. ThIS 
ENCOURAGEMENT GIVEN TO EMIGRANTS AND SPECULA- 
TORS, OPENED A MARKET FOR ALL THE PRODUCE OF 

THE Ohio."' 

But although Mr. Clark may, in this narrative, have 
stated such facts as reached his knowledge, others re- 
main to be explained, of which he could have had no in- 
formation. These, are not relevant to the specific mat- 
ter embraced by the charges; nor are they necessary 
to rebut the testimony adduced in support of them; but 
they may serve to dissipate the clouds of suspicion, which 
are rising in constant succession, to envelope my conduct 
in mystery, and to supply the place of proofs. 

Notwithstanding the lapse of time, it will occur to many 
living contemporaries, and it is even susceptible of proof, 
that about the year 17S6-7, the Spanish cabinet had pro- 
jected a plan of colonizing Louisiana, from the United 
States, and it will be remembered, tiiat, their minister 
Gardoqui, had so far engaged in this project, as to send 
several vessels to the Mississippi with colonists. 

About tliis time, in the decline of the feeble confedera- 
tion which connected these states. Major-general the Baron 
de Steuben, and many revolutionary officers of rank and 
citizens of respectability, opened a treaty with Gardoqui, 
for the grant of an extensive district of country west of 
the Mississippi; upon the plan of establishing a military 



112 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, colony, to be composed of Americans, under particular 
^^ • privileges and exemptions. It is a notorious fact, that, 
pursuant to this, or some similar project. Colonel George 
Morgan, under the sanction of Mr. Gardoqui, descended 
the Ohio, with a considerable body of adventurers, in the 
winter of 1788-89 ; and made an establishment on the 
Mississippi, about forty-five miles below the mouth of 
the Ohio, which he called New Madrid, the name by 
which the place is still known. But as this project 
originated with Gardoqui, without any concert with the 
governor of the province, Don Estevan Miro, and as a 
misunderstanding had previously taken place between 
them, Mr. Miro availed himself of his authority, to dis- 
countenance the views of Gardoqui j he accordingly esta- 
blished a military post at New Madrid, and the infant 
colony was cruslied in the cradle; but the Governor was 
influenced by other motives, which I shall briefly explain, 
and it may be proper to remark, tliat the court of Spain 
would not sanction the plan of the Baron Steuben and his 
associates. 

WJien I first descended the Mississippi in 1787, the pro- 
ject of colonisation which occupied the mind of Mr. Gardo- 
qui, was known to me, and I determined to employ this 
knowledge, either for my personal emolument or the inte- 
rests of my fellow citizens. Governor Miro, the intcndant 
Navarro, and our interpi-eters, were the only persons, to 
whom my most interesting propositions were communi- 
cated. To effect my primary object, tlie opening the na- 
vigation of the river, it was necessary not only to take 
the ground of safety to the province, but to shew the im- 
portant advantages, wliich would be derived to the reve- 
nues of Spain, from a commercial intercourse between 
New Orleans and the settlements of the Ohio. To these 
considerations, an extensive scheme of colonization was 
added, under a specific proposition, for the settlement of 
several thousand families, in that district on the Missis- 
sippi, which is now called West Florida; or one to be laid 
out on the Arkansan and White rivers ; lands wei-e to 
be granted to tlie heads of families, in proportion to thei? 



General Wilkinson. 113 

mimbers and comlition, and I was to be allowed, Trom one chap. 
to three hundred dollars per family, on the same scale. *^ ' 
It was urged, that tlie grant of lands would effect the mi- 
gration, and the bounty per family might be put in the 
pockets of those, most actively engaged in promoting the 
plan. It was at this time, I presented a list of respecta- 
ble names as emigrants, to give consistency to my pro- 
positions; and this is, in all human pi'ohability, the list of 
which Mr. Clark may have heard a whisper, when a 
clerk in the Spanish secretary's office, and which he has 
converted into a list of pensioners. 

There was another project, depending on the precedin^i 
which was considered of more importance, if it could be 
effected, in relation to the fortunes of the concerned j 
this was, that I should demand for my services, in pro- 
moting the plan of colonization, the privilege of furnish- 
ing, a considerable annual supply of tobacco, to the Mexi- 
can mai'ket, which would have secured immense fortnr*cs 
for me and my friends. The idea of alienating Kentucky 
from the United States, while a prospect of national 
protection remained, would have been as absurd, as the 
idea of reducing them to the vassallage of Spain. Such 
a proposition would have been so vain and chimerical, 
that no man, whose interest it w as, to preserve a consis- 
tency of character witli the Spanish government, would 
have ventured to hazard it. Indeed, the monstrous ex- 
travagance of the thought, is too ludicrous for grave con- 
sideration, and could never have originated, with any per- 
son who understood the character, genius, and govern- 
ment of the people of the United States. 

Under these stipulations and impressions, I tynb^rkcd 
at New Orleans on my return to the United States, in Sep- 
tember, 1787; and after a variety of perils and hardsliips, 
reached my family in Kentucky in February, 1788. I revi- 
sited New Orleans in 1789, to break up the co-partnership 
formed for me, without my authority or approbation, by 
Messrs. Clark and Dunn. I was then informed by Go- 
vernor Miro, that the opening of the trade of the Missis- 
sippi to the western inhabitants, had been approved by 
voi. fl. P 



114 MEMOIRS BY 

CFiAP. liis court, and that permission for the settlement of Ame- 
^^ rican emigrants had heen granted ; but he informed me 
he had received no advice, on the subject of our plan of 
colonization, or the tobacco speculation. I returned to 
Kentucky, and pursued the trade in which I was en- 
gaged, until the year 1791; when, disgusted by disap- 
pointment and misfortunes, the effect of my ignorance of 
commerce, I resumed the sword of my country in De- 
cember of the same year, having previously made two suc- 
cessful expeditions against the Indians; in the first of 
which I acted as second in command, and the second 
I led in person. 

In these transactions, I can speak only of my own mo- 
tives and actions, and by them I am persuaded I shall be 
judged. Brom the character under which I approached 
the Governor and Intendant of Louisiana, and the tenor 
of my whole conduct, it is not probable, that they should 
have proposed to me any measure of dishonour : yet it is 
but reasonable to presume, that they had duties and obli- 
gations to consult as well as myself; and while our j)er 
sonal interests were made subservient, it was fair that 
they should play back upon me my own game, to the best 
advantage, a distinct policy might suggest. I deny the 
right of any power in existence, to question me for my ne- 
gociations with the Governor of Louisiana in ±787. And 
I am satisfied impartial posterity, will render justice to 
the personal enterprise, and pecuniary sacrifices, by 
which I contributed more essentially, to advance the for- 
tunes of the western people, than any other individual of 
my country ; nor will it be denied, when my enemies arc 
foi'gottcn, that the projects for which, I am now charge«i 
with traitorous designs, had a direct tendency to accele- 
rate, the annexation of Louisiana to the United States. 
For he must be a superficial observer, indeed, who hav- 
ing read the Roman History, has not discerned a case 
parallel to the propositions of the Spanish government, 
for defending Spanish America by the citizens of the 
United States, against their own brethren, and the go- 
vernment of their choice. But/ that I have ever, in all 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 115 

my correspondence and intercourse with the Spanish go- chap. 

• TV 

vernment, conceded a tittle of the honour or interests of ,^^„-^ 
my own country, I most solemnly deny, in the face of God 
and man ; and I have ample and undeniable testimony to 
shew that I omitted no occasion, to employ my ascendancy 
over the officers of Spanish Louisiana, to render them 
subservient to tlje interest, and accommodation of the 
United States. It is also a truth undeniable, that I have 
employed tliis influence, most advantageously to my coun- 
try, with the late Governor Gayoso and his successors, 
down to the surrender of the province. An hundred 
thousand dollars, would not have met the expenses, which 
by my personal address, and unremitted attention to the 
interests of our common country, I have contrived to 
save to the government; and the explanation, if relevant, 
would be brief. 

By this extract from Mr. Clark's memoir, and the 
preceding statement, you are furnished with a clear view 
of the motives, by which I was influenced in my adven- 
ture to New Orleans ; of the intercourse which ensued, 
and the nature of my transactions with the Spanish go- 
vernment. The subject on which I was employed, was 
one of the greatest delicacy ; and you will perceive, that 
it was necessary to operate upon the fears, the avarice, 
and the ambition of these with whom I negotiated, before 
I could hope for any prospect of success. But my triumph 
was complete, and I effected more, than had been accom- 
plished by the previous negotiations of the government, 
at the court of Madrid. I obtained, in the first instance, 
a permit from Governor Miro, to introduce to the market 
of New Orleans, thirty -five thousand dollars worth of the 
produce of Kentucky ; but the evidence of this permission, 
in the destruction of papers consequent on my erratic life, 
has been unfortunately lost. It has however been my 
good fortune, to prcsci-ve the second permit, dated Aug. 
8th, 1788, in which my commercial indulgence is limited 
to the produce of Kentucky, and the inhabitants of that 
district. iVnd tlius, by my individual enterprise and ad- 
dress, a market was opened to my immediate fcllow-citi- 



116 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
IV. 



zeiis, which was soon extended to the whole western 
country, producing the happiest cflferts, in stimulatin,^ 
the industry of the citizens, and promoting their general 
wealth and prosperity. The original permit is in evi- 
dence before the court, of wliich the following translation 
has been made by Jolin Graiiani esq,, of tlie departmeni 
of State. 



Permls- " I, Don Stephen Miro, Colonel of the Rf)yal Armies, 

sion of the Political and Military Governor and Intcndant General 
Governor of the Provinces of Louisiana and West Florida, and In- 
frade to spcctor of the Troops, ^c. ^c. Grant free and full pcr- 
New Or- mission to the American Brigadier Don James Wilkiri- 
'^''"^' .son, settled in Kentucky, to direct or cause to be brought 
into this country by inhabitants of Kentucky one or more 
launches belonging to him, with cargoes of tlie produc- 
tions of that country: — Therefore, I command all olBcers 
belonging to this government not to otter any hindrance 
to his voyage : on the contrary they are to render him 
every assistance that may be necessary. The present is 
given, signed with my hand, scaled with the seal of my 
arms, and countersigned by his majesty's secretary for 
this government, in the city of New Oilcans, the 8th 
August, 1788. 

(Signed) « STEPHEN MIRO. 

<• Andres Armcst(», secretaryJ" 

Thcsc voyages cost me upw ards of a tiiousand guineas, 
and the community of which I was a raenmer, profited by 
my toils, perils, and expenses. 

Wc may look to the same paper, for tlie source of those 
jealousies and suspicions, which gave rise to the accusa- 
tion, of my being a Spanish pensioner. My transactions 
were confined to Governor Miro, and Intendant Navar- 
ro, and of course were secret; which necessarily gave 
I'oom for every idle conjecture, which wliim might sug- 
gest or malice dictate. My influence in the cabinet, was 
evinced, by the effects it produced; and ignorance, in- 
capable of estimating my resources, and envy, solicitous 



1&ENERAL WILKINSON. 117 

to misrepresent my conduct, might plausibly attribute it ciiAP. 
to an illicit connexion. 

I have, gentlemen, nothing to conceal from you ; I ac- 
knowledge my intercourse with the Governor of Louisiana, 
was so far political as to conciliate discord, and promote 
the emigration of our citizens to a region, which I consi- 
dered a natural appendage to our country. I anticipated 
at that time, and did predict to many persons, what has 
since been realised ; that every American transplanted to 
Natchez, would become a scion to increase the future 
strength of the United States ; and I did then, and do still 
believe this policy to be correct; but my great concerns 
were strictly commercial ; I had obtained permission 
from Governor Miro, to supply tobacco to the royal ma- 
gazine, and it being a monopoly of the crown, private 
dealings in that article were interdicted. This was a 
measure, emanating from the discretion of Governor 
Miro, and Intendant Navarro, and I doubt, whether 
the court of Madrid ever heard of it. The four thou- 
sand dollars alleged by Mr. Clark, in his deposition,, 
to have been paid La Cassagne on account of my pension; 
the six thousand dollars paid the unfortunate Owen; the 
sum paid Collins, which Mr. Clark on his oath falsely 
states to have exceeded eleven tliousand dollars, and the 
nine thousand dollars received from Philip Nolan, my 
agent, are accounted for by him in his letter of January 
6th, 1796,* and a rough draft of his account in his hand 

* " JVeru Orleans, January 6, \79^. 

" My dear General, 

" I wrote to you last year from Natchez, informing you of ray 
then situation and my prospects, I am now again here in safety from 
my third trip to the unknotun land. I brought 250 horses to Natchez, 
and left them in a rush brake, with my faithful Forester and two young 
Mexicans, and came to this place to do honour to the Baron. I havf' 
been called on by your friend Gilberto, to examine the state of your 
accounts with Don Esteplien Miro (who is reported dead.) I de- 
manded the balance, but he observed that it was stipulated between 
you and your friend, that it was to be paid by instalments ; and I could 
only get nine thousand dollars, which I will forward (to avoid dan- 
gers of the sea) by the Mississippi, as I cannot fmd insurance under 



118 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, writing, transmitted to me from New Orleans, at a time 
^^ ' wlien he had been absent from me seven years, which 
ha^ e been read in testimony before the court. 

It is possible Mr. Clark may not deny the autlienticity 
of the memorial, to Mr. Pickering, which I have asserted 
to be his ; but if he should, which is also very possible, 
the deposition of John Graham esq., hereafter referred 
to, may be appealed to as evidence of tlie fact. The re- 
flection naturally obtrudes itself in tliis place, that, al- 
thougli my connexions, with the Governor of New Or- 
leans, were politically innocent, and commercially inte- 
rested, having' for their object my private benefit, and the 
interests of the western coujitry, yet, it is impossible that 
I should have been able to devclope, what might have 
been the latest views of the Spanish government, in rela- 
tion to the imputed disseverment of tlie union, or the cal- 
culations on my agency : surely no expectation founded 
on the privileges or indulgences, granted to the western 
country at my instance, or for my individual emolument, 
can be construed to affect me, unless by some correspond- 
ing act on my part, 1 had established my co-operation. 

a premium of 12^ percent. You have a copy of the account inclosed, 
as rendered by him to me, which leaves a balance of 2095 dollars in 
your favour. You will excuse me, when 1 recommend it to you to pay 
this sum to the heirs of Bouregard, who are much dissatisfied with 
you, as they have not yet received satisfaction, for the money you were 
authorised by them, to collect from the state of Virginia. The Con- 
tador Don Morales is concerned in that claim; he of consequence is 
your enemy, and is disposed to give you all the trouble in his power. 
If you have any future commercial views to this place, you should en- 
deavour to do away his prejudices. 

" I objected to the immoderate premium, on the money forwarded 
by our unfortunate friend Owen, but Gilberto observed that there was 
no regular office, and he was obliged to make a private contract; how- 
ever, this may be, as matters have turned out, it is not for you t© 
complain. 

" Clark has called on me for 337 dollars, an error in the settlement 
made between his partner liees and yourself; I haite informed him I 
would take your advice on tiie subject. 

" I have paid Gerault of Natchez 147 dollars, balance due him or. 
account of his Illinois lands. 

*' Expect me next summer, and believe me your devoted 

" PHILIP NQ^AN 



GENERAL WILKINSON, 119 

What was the condition of the people of Kentucky at chaP- 
iliat period ? open to savage depiedations ; exposed to *^ • 
tlie jealousies of the Spanish government; unprotected by '"•^"''''^^ 



" General James Wilkinson in Account loith Don E. JM. 

"DR. 

1790 June 2, To Cash paid Philip Nolan - ^ 1 8D0 

1792 Aug. 4, To do. remitted by Lacassau - 4 000 

1794 July 29, To do. remitted by Owen - 6 000 

To do. paid insurance 12f per cent 750 

To do. remitted by J. E. Collins 6 350 

1796 Jan. 4, To do. paid Philip Nolan per receipt 9 000 

To balance due J. W. 2 095 

% 29 995 



"CR. 

"' By net proceeds of 235 hogsheads of Tobacco, condemn- 
ed in the year 1790 by Arrietta, and passed in the year 
1791 by Brion - - g 17 S74 

By so much recovered for loss sustained on the cargo of 
the boat Speedwell 

By so much sent by H. Owen, insured 



6 12lf 
6 000 


29 995- 

S 2 095 



Balance due James Willcinson 

. Vtoaf Orkans, January 4, 1796. 

(Errors excepted.) 

for Don E. M. 
GILBERT LEONARD.' 

'•' JVatchez, Mississippi Territory, County of Adams. 

" We the sabscribers, having been long acquainted with Philip 
Nolan deceased, by our correspondence and transaction of business 
with him, do declare that the withui account dated at New Orleans, 
January 4th 1796, and signed Gilbert Leonard, is in the hand writing 
of the said Nolan; and we do further declare lliat the said Nolan left 
this territory about the month of May, 1800, and was killed the en 
suing summer, by the Spaniards in the province of Texlias. 

"LEWIS EVANS 
" Lewis Evans swore and subscribed to the above affidavit before ^ 

" SAML. BROOKS, J. P " 



ISO MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, that of the old confederation ; and denied the free navi' 
gation of the Mississippi, the only practicable channel 
by which, the products of their labour could find a mar- 
ket. If I liad not accomplished the indulgence for them 
which I did, and wlucli Mr. Clark allows I did, is it not 
within the compass of possibility, nay, is it not very 
probable, that a people thus driven by their necessities, 
and urged by what they considered the neglect of their 
own government, 'might in reality have sought relief 
in a connexion with Spain? and thus the very act charg- 
ed against me, as a high crime, under the critical circum- 
stances of the times, when calmly examined, must re- 
dound to my credit, as being instrumental to the pre- 
servation, instead of the violation of the union. 

And is it credible, let me ask you, gentlemen of the 
tourt, that for fifteen or sixteen years, the Spanish go- 
vernment should have continued to pension a man, under 
the bare expectation of service, without that man's 
having taken one step to forward their designs ? Were 
the Spaniards to be deluded by mere proposals for so long 
atimc? Would they not have required from me, some act of 
omission towards my own government, or some deed of 
commission in favour of the government of Spain ? My ad- 
versaries do not pretend to point to a single case, wherein 
I have neglected my dutyj they do not designate a solitary 
instance, wherein I have served Spain, or moved a step 
to promote her interests; Where have I failed to 

PERFORM, WHAT HONOUR AND DUTY HAVE REQUIRED 

OF ME? Was it on the frozen borders of Cana- 
da, OR the arid coasts of Florida? Was it at 
LoFTUs Heights ? Was it in taking possession of 
New Orleans ? in my government of Louisiana ? 
upon the Sabine? or in the discomfiture of Burr, 
and his choice spirits, who now persecute and 
OPPRESS ME ? let candour speak, I defy the truth. 

Mr. Clark declares, that he saw a list of names at New 
Orleans, in my hand writing, and tJiat he *< IhenvisTiNcr- 
J.Y UNDERSTOOD that mysclf and others rwre pensifiners of' 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ISl 

the Spanish govemnienty'' but he is silent as to the source CHAP, 
of this " DISTINCT ujvDERSTANDixG." He unitcs oertain ^^' 
circumstances in his own mind, understands them as he 
pleases, and then swears to his understanding! 

I trust, gentlemen, 3'ou appreciate sucli artifices ac- 
cording to their merits, and that you will adopt no man's 
understanding, much less Mr. Clark's, as the criterion 
of your decision, when it is not supported by respectable 
and authentic vouchers. 

You will observe, gentlemen, Mr. Clark insinuates he 
had personal knowledge, of my receiving money as a pen- 
sioner of Spain, in the years ±T9S-4 ; it will certainly be 
acknowledged, tliat the uncle of Mr. Clark, who was my 
agent, and possessed great influence in New Orleans, 
must have enjoyed greater opportunities than the ne- 
phew, to acquire a knowledge, of the nature of my con- 
nexions with, and engagements to the Spanish govern- 
ment. 

Yet mark the correspondence of that respectable charac- 
ter with me. I present you a letter from him to me, dated 
in March 1798,* in which he solicits my patronage with 
my government, to procure for my present enemy, the 
Consular Office at New Orleans ; he does not speak to 
me as a man liable to the suspicions of my government, 
or as if I had done any thing to forfeit, the character of 
an American patriot and soldiery he tells me, " you have 

WEIGHT AND INFLUENCE WITH YOUR GOVERNMENT, 
AND IF YOU INTERCEDE FOR MY NEPHEW DaN, HE 

MUST PREVAii.:" Nay, gentlemen, this very Daniel 
Clark, the living personage, my insidious calumniator, 
did, himself, move his uncle thus to solicit me, though he 
pretends that four or five years before, he knew me to have 
received a pension from Spain. This is the young man 
whom his deceased uncle, (woefully deceived in him) in- 
formed me was " a youth of nice sense of honour.*' 
I leave it to you, gentlemen, to decide, whether it is pro- 
bable Mr. Clark, (be his honour nice or not) would have 

* See Appendix, No. \1l. 

VOL. ir. Q 



1^^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, applied to a Spanish pensioner, to intercede with the 
^^" American government, for a post of honour or profit tor 
liimself. On any other occasion hut that of the vindica- 
tion of my honour, I certainly shouhl not produce testi- 
monies of private confidence, the effusions of a sacred 
friendship ; hut in this case, tiie shade of my deceased 
friend, which looks down with anguish on the turpitude 
of the nephew, would reproach me with bitterness, did 1 
fail to employ every memento he has left me, to justify 
my fame against the fool aspersions, with which it has 
been assailed. I shall therefore lay before you, other 
letters of the deceased patriot, and I now present one* 
bearing date November 3d, 1798, a few days after the 
memorable interview at my camp, as stated by my accu- 
ser. In this letter, the uncle calls on and nrgcs me, to 
take possession of New Orleans. « / wish to cat my 
Chnstmas dinner, (says the old geutlemaii) with Governor 
Wilkinson at JVew Orleans: Great God I cannot this tvorh 
he effected? I tell you sir, I tvill carry a broxvn bess on my 
shoulder, with a yoiitliful agility, to assist on that occasion. 
Dan (meaning my piesent enemy) ivill help with acti- 
vity; Dick (tlic brother of Dan) will help with alt his 
soul, and Jane^ says she will make lint ; so you have tht 
family of Clark's tnily at your devotion. I will also make 
the poor black fellows useful to you, I tell you General, 
you must take JVcw Orleans, ere a permanent tranquillity, 
can reign in the United States, or agriculture and commerce 
can flourish. These are objects I am solicitous to see ac- 
complished, ere I attain my threescore and ten, to which, you 
know, 1 have but two or three years to run." Such was 
the language of the elder Mr. Clark to mc in tlie year 
1798, when in the sixty-seventli year of his age. He 
addressed mc in the fulness of confidence, not as a Spa- 
nisii pensioner, but as an American attached to his coun- 
try, zealous to promote her interests, and prompt to 
assert her rights. Let it be remembered, gentlemen, 

• See Appendix, Xo. VIII. 

t His amiable and respectable consort. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 123 

that Colonel Clark was intimate, with the Goveruor and CHAP, 
the superior officers of Louisiana; that he possessed their *^" 
ronlidence, and was my first agent. 

I hold in my hand another letter fi-om the same source, 
dated the 30th of May, 1799,* which I beg leave to offer 
to the court. From this I shall not quote, because, 
though most flattering to my feelings and honourable to 
my character, it relates more to the sensibilities of the 
heart, than my public conduct, yet you will find, even in 
this letter, that my old friend, cannot forbear following 
me with his benedictions, and praying "that my coun- 
try MAY LOAD ME WITH MARKS OF ESTEEM." 

Certain observations made by Governor Folch, (in a 
document to which I have before alluded) will here find 
its appropriate place, and coming from an officer of rank 
and character, not less esteemed for his high military 
standing, than his intellectual force and amiable man- 
ners, cannot fail of its due weight. " / am conjidenf'j The Spa- 
says Governor Folch in his answer to Governor Clai- vemor 

borne, — of which I had no knowledge until it was sent Folch's 

letter to 
me from the office of state, <« that Governor Don Estevan Governor 

Jliro, Baron de Carondelei, Don Manuel Gayoso de Leinos, Claiborne 

respect in ST 

the Marquis de Casa Calvo and myself, have on all occa- General 

sionSf entertained the most favourable opinions of, and sincere Wiikm- 
/..,,.-. I -,7 ■ rr- jvT- son's con- 

friendship for General Wdkinson. His qualities as an ho- nex'ion 

nest man, and Melitii to his country, entitled him to our ^'^^ the 

' -f J •>" SpanisJi 

particular attention and regard, and to consider him worthy govem- 

the commission he holds. Should his conducV^ adds the s:o- P)^"*^' ^^ 

* New Or 

vernor, — and it is to this pai't, gentlemen, I pray your leans. 
particular attention, «6e in the light that it is malicioushj 
represented, we who were well acquainted with the treat- 
ment due to that class of people, would never hold him in 
our high estimation; persons of that description are always 
when their services are wanted, treated with an apparent 
esteem and considered ivith the utmost contempt, as destitute 



* See Appendix, No. IX. 

t Third Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, p. 47- 



124* MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, oj all honour. Such seroices are rewarded with imiietji 
^^ but by no means with regard or affection.'' 
Colonel These remarks apply strongly, to tlic letters of the de- 

Clark's ceased Colonel Clark, who, being himself a man of high 
rond^ence ^^'^^1'".?^, and strongly attached to the welfare of the 
referred United States, as may be discovered from his letters, 
would never have addre.«sed a Spanish pensioner, and an 
enemy of the union in the style he did me. 

I know not how it is, that a man so infamous as I 
have been represented, should have been so highly re- 
spected, by all the family of the Clarks; but another let- 
ter from the same respectable character, which I now 
present, dated May 30th, 1799,* demonstrates that my 
services were solicited, as well on religions as in civil 
concerns; not only to procure an office for the nephew, 
but a pastor for the church. Nor will you find, gentle- 
men, what malice may conjecture, that the uncle was in 
his dotage; his letters exhibit his true character — a mind, 
shrewd and comprehensive — feelings, noble and generous 
— of matured judgment and quick discernment — frank in 
his manners and decisive in his opinions. 

So late as March, 1800, this same venerable friend, 
tells me in another letter, now submitted to the court,! 
« Fou have long been in possession of my sincere regard, es- 
teem and affection, and were you to render me ten thousand 
sei'vices, they could not augment it. Your friendship for 
Dick,"" his nephew and the brother of Daniel, « by the 
exertion of your influence with the administration, in pro- 
curing him a commission,jf^ is a fresh instance of your kind' 
ness to the Clarks. I hope Dick will not dishonour his 
friend's recommendation, that my namesake,"^ my accuser, 
« may feel it as I do, and be graiejul as I am.*' J fear, 

* See Appendix, No. X. 

f See Appendix, No. XI. 

± General Wilkinson procured for Ricliard Clark, the brother of 
my accuser, Daniel, at the earnest solicit.ation of his family, a lieu- 
tenancy in the naval service of the United States. He embarked on 
board ttie Insiirc-ent and was lost in that frigate. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. l^fll 

f^entlemen, your patience may become exhausted at tliis chap. 
minute recital; but wben you reflect, that my honour has ^^• 
been barbarously attacked, and through me, the honour of 
the army and our profession^ has been cniplly assailed, it 
devolves on me, as a sacred duty, to repel the hellish 
outrage, by every means I may be able to compass. 

I must, therefore, trespass on your patience, by pro- 
ducing two other letters of the deceased Colonel Clark ; 
the first,'* now deposited, is without date, but was written 
in the month of June, 1799, when I was about to leave 
Iny family, on a visit to General Hamilton, at New York, 
and exhibits the most ardent wishes for our happiness j 
the other,! now presented, dated as early as the 6th 
June, 1788, serves directly to explain, the nature of my 
commercial transactions at New Orleans, and hints at the 
connexion, which is fully proven by Oliver Pollock's de- 
position. In this letter Colonel Clark speaks of my to- 
bacco, of my boats, and the state of the markets, in a 
style, perfectly consonant to the language of my accuser 
(Clark), in his memoir presented to Mr. Pickering, here- 
tofore referred to; and as there could, at that day, be no 
motive to misinterpret my conduct, it speaks the plain 
unvarnished language of truth ; and this letter also con- 
firms my assertion, that the deceased Colonel Clark was 
not, at that time, wealthy, for he complains of his ^' little 
capital," as being insufficient, to bear the expense *<of a 
small houses ivhich he at that time lived in, and he calls on 
me to make him rich, as I had promised to make another 
person.'' 

From the deceased, I will turn to the living Clark, and Daniel 
from the various letters, I have at different times, re- ^•^'"'^'^ 

corres- 

ceived from him, I shall, in the first place, present you pondence 
one dated May 5th, 1803,:j: which will enable you to dis- 
cern, that Mr. Clark is a man capable of dissimulation, 
and much contrivance in all his concerns; that he under- 
stands well, how to operate on the human passions, and is 



* See Appendix, No. XII. f See Appendix, No. XIII- 

■t See Appendix, No. XIV. 



referred 
to. 



126 MEMOIIIS BY 

CHAP. AVell skilled, in turning tlie most insignificant affairs to 
^^' liis ailvantagc. The same letter will also designate, ano- 
ther trait of his character, very necessary to be nnder- 
stood : he tells you, that the consular office had never 
been solicited on his part; but a recurrence to the letter 
of his uncle, already referred to,* wherein the old gen- 
tleman informed me, that « Daniel had wrote to Iiim, to so- 
licit me to interfere in his behalj" will demonstrate, that 
there is no reliance to be pla< ed on liis assertion, and 
that the present Mr. Clark, in the most calm and delibe- 
rate manner imaginable, to gratify his vanity, fus pnde, 
his ambition or revenge, can assert what is utterly un- 
true. 

Another letter from Mr. Clark, of the 13th April, 
1803, I also produce,! to pourtray my leading adversary 
in his true colours. You will find, in this letter, that he 
describes himself, " as competent to personate any sort of 
character, to become a profound hypocrite, and outwhine and 
cant the French prefect, Laussatt himself J' To other parts 
of that letter, 1 also pray you, gentlemen, to pay strict 
attention ; you will perceive, how extremely anxious Mr. 
Clark appears to be, to embark in some desperate enter- 
prise, which might elevate him from the obscurity of his 
birth, of which he was ashamed, and indulge his pride. 
The professions of attachment to the union, imperfectly 
conceal the restless impatience of his soul ; he speaks of 

»< A MILLION OF THOUGHTS REPRESSED ON THE OCCA- 
SION." 

In the developement which this review will afford, you 
will be called on, gentlemen, to mark the connexion of 
the sentiments uttered by Mr. Clark, in the year 1800, 
with a certain expedition to Mexico, which he contem- 
plated, in ids association with the adherents of Colonel 
Burr, in 1806. 

You are, gentlemen, but little acquainted with tlie in- 
defatigable industry of ^Ir. Clark, to raise himself in 
the public estimation. A letter addressed by him to me, 

' See Appendiy,No. XV. j Sec Appendix, No. XVI. 



GENERAL WILKINSON, 1^7 

ilated February 26th, 1803, shews that he had gone to chap. 
Paris, no doubt with the view to ascertain, what could ^L3_. 
he done in his own favour, with the French government, 
A\ hen the latter were about to take possession of Loui- 
siana. Whether the French government penetrated the 
man's true character, or whether he was deficient in 
those externals of address, which may be necessary to 
succeed with the French rulers, certain it is, that he 
was foiled in his designs ,• and the uniform tenor of 
his letters, after his return, proves that he was deter- 
mined on revenge, and that he was xvilling to convert 
himself into a spy upon the French^ under my direc- 
tion, to render himself moi'e acceptable to the American 
government. And we have since beheld this champignon, 
with the aid of his deluded adherents, vainly assuming a 
fastidious attitude, to raise himself above his superiors, 
and place me at his feet. 

The following extract of a letter from Mr. Clark to 
myself, dated May 20tlj, 1803, corresponds with the 
delineation of the character I have submitted to you. 
<« / am much caressed by the Spaniards " says he, « and 
have been noticed at all the public dimiers, and shoidd 
any thing for us or Spain turn up, will act a 
GREAT PART HERE !" The idea of greatness, in tfith, 
seemed continually to haunt his mind — never suffering" 
him to be quiet j disappointed in one quarter, he turned 
to another, and never hesitated at the means of accom- 
plislung his desires, whether by whining and cant- 
iNGs, BY ESPIONAGE OR REVENGE; and thus we find, 
that this man, who now is so mucli attached to the 
United States, and who so cordially detests the 
Spanish govern>lent, was ready at that time, to seize 
upon the first occasion, to act a great part " for us or 
Spain." Here we discover him to be destitute of pa- 
triotism, principle and fixed attachment. Charge not 
ine, gentlcjnen, I beseech you, with discolouring this por- 
trait. In his own letters, by his own hand, lias the like- 
ness of Mr. Clark been more strikingly di-awn, than it 



1^8 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, could be by any ingenuity of mine, or indeed, of any man 
'^' who did not perceive the secret workings of his heart, 
and had not particularly noticed his tergiversations. A 
letter from the same gentleman to me, dated May 14th, 
1803,* exhibits his duplicity in a very strong light; he 
does not scruple to tell me, that he had asserted a 
TAXSEHOOD, TO SERVE HIS PURPOSES. From liis own 
confessions it is manifest, that, like the nurse in Romeo 
and Juliet, Mr. Clark wears his morality as he does his 
hat or his cloak, to be put on or off at his discretion. 

I could produce many other letters of Mr. Clark, to 
shew, that pending the critical period of 1803, when the 
French army was expected at New Orleans, under Ge- 
neral Victor, he reposed boundless confidence in mej re- 
lied on my friendship and guidance, and even submitted, 
to my inspection and direction, his communications to the 
secretary of state; in none of those letters is tliere a so- 
litary allusion, to any connexion between myself and the 
Spanish government, nor the most distant insinuation, 
that I had been bribed or pensioned. Ardent in his pro- 
fessions of attachment, to the government of the United 
States, he invariably courted my attentions and sought my 
confidence, by pressing upon me, the sincerity oe his 
WISHES TO serve THAT COUNTRY, to which my wliole 
life has been devoted; and this, at the >tbry moment 

HE ENJOYED THE PATRONAGE, AND BASKED UNDER 
THE FAVOUR OF THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT, of VVhich 

he then professed to be a liege subject. Is it possible 
this man of art and cunning, would have tiuis exposed 
his duplicity to me, if he had doubted my honour, or sus- 
pected I was attached to the Spaniards ? The idea is ir- 
rational and absurd; for in such case, a hint from uic 
would have exposed and destroyed him. In proof of Mr. 
Clark's continued and unlimited confidence in me, from 
a number of other letters, I beg leave to read one from 

See Appendix, No. XVII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 1^9 

liim, of the 27th September, ISOG.* — But let me premise, chap. 
a brief extract from anotlicr letter, which Mr. Clark ad- ,^^^.^^,.^,^. 
dressed to me, October 2d, 1806,f after lie had been elect- 
ed a member of Congress, tind when he could have had 
no interest to fawn, flatter or decjcivc, w Inch will evince the 
extent of this man's confidence, in my devotion to my 
country, beyond the power of Ids most zealous advocates 
to explain away j for it occurred at tlie very period, I was 
marching against tbe Spaniards on the Sabine. He says, 
"were the preparations and means in your j)oxver, equal to 
the object, I should have no doubt, you xvoidd bring matters 
to an honourable issue, for yourself and your country;" and 
in the conclusion of the letter, he adds, *< I sincerely wish 
you success, and that the means of insuring it depended mi 
yourself alone." This, surely, is the language of en- 
tire confidence, without a ray of suspicion; no Impres- 
sion could, at that time, rest on Mr. Clark's mind, that 
I was capable of treachery to my country, or of fa- 
vouring the Spaniards at her expense : How then, this 
sudden change of opinion? I refer yon, gentlemen, to tlie 
letter of Mr. Clark to me of the 27th February, 1807, 
and to the depositions, of the Honourable Lewis Alston, 
of John Graham esq., of Lieutenant Murray and others, 
for a solution; — but I ask your patience, while I read the 
letter before referred to. 

" .A'Vw Orleans, 27th September, 1806. 
« Dear Sir, 

" I have been favoured with your letter from the 
Heights,:!^ and had you previously informed me, w hen you 
might have been expected tliere, I should have been on 
the spot at the time of your arrival. Removed as you 
now are, to a distance of 150 leagues^ from Orleans, 
it will be morally impossible for me, to undertake a jour- 
ney to see you, as the near approach of winter, renders 

* See Appendix, No. XVIII. 

t See Third Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, 
page 478. 

t Fort Adams on the Mississippi. 
$ To Natchitoches on Red river. 

VOL. n. R 



130 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, my departure for the Atlantic states indispensable, within 
^^' a fortniglit; and I shall not be here, till some time after 
Congress breaks up. Neither myself, nor my other 
Jriends, will ever doubts that you will act with the Spa- 
ma/rds, with as much prudence as your orders permit: 
and if hostilities should be the consequence, your supe- 
riors must be responsible to the nation, and not you, for 
such conduct. The only thing I fear is, that you should 
not have force enough, to defend the country in case of an 
attack, as Folch has at least 1200 to 1500 regulars in 
Pensacola; and if you strike on the side of Natchitoches, 
you ought to be prepared for a I'etaliation on his part, 
against this quarter. On the militia of the loxvcr coun- 
try, you must place no reliance; they never have been or- 
ganized, they arc unarmed, and I know there are in the 
stores, but 2500 stands of spare arms,^- a great part of 
which, I presume, it would be necessary to keep for the 
troops, to supply tliem in case of accident; besides, you 
know that the planters and mcrciuints will not easily 
leave their homes, to the utter ruin of their affairs, when 
there is no force to compel them. 

« I know I am entering upon a thorny path, and shall 
expect a great deal of trouble. I would tbank you for 
your advice to direct me, and if you could give me a line, 
to some of your friends in Congress, disposed to favour 
or serve Louisiana, you would, perhaps, afterwards find 
your own account in it. You may direct to me, to the 
care of Mr. Daniel W. Coxc at riiiladelphia, until the 
session commences. 

« I have received the rejected grants of lands, and 
would be obliged to you to give mc, what information you 
are possessed of, respecting the proceedings of the board 
of commissioners; what the people of the upper country 
expect; and what it would be proper to attempt for them 
\vith any hopes of success. 

* By what means? and for what purpose ? did Mr. Clark procure a 
knowledije of our magazine of arms ? and why withliold Uiem from 
the yeomanry of the country ? Was it for the accommodation of the 
co-conspirAtors expected in the autumn ? Verbum sat. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 131 

You will oblige me by giving me, from time to time, chap. 
advices of vthat it jjassing on the frontier, and point out ^^ 
in what Nvay you think I may be of service to you. 
<( I remain with esteem, 
" Dear Sir, 

« Your most obedient sei'vant, 
(Signed) " DANIEL CLARK. 

*•' Brigadier-general Wilkinson, 

*< Head Quarters, J^atchitoches." 

Mr. Clark's imperial prospects had been destroyed ; I 
had been the author of his disappointment, and, agreea- 
bly to the declaration of Mr. Ogden to Lieutenant Mur- 
ray, « HE HAD MARKED ME AS HIS VICTIM." On thC 

])receding lettea'S of Mr. Clark, w ritten in September and 
October, 1806 (when it is known that I was marching, at 
the moment, under the orders of my government, against 
a superior Spanish force), I could safely rest my excul- 
pation against his calumnies. 

In the list of names, which Mr. Clark pretends to have 
seen, in my hand writing, of persons who were Spanish 
pensioners, he does not say what names were included : 
— Here we have another testimony, of the convenience of 
Mr. Clark's memory; because, although the mention of 
names, woidd have added strength to his assertion, yet it 
would have exposed his falsehoods to detection. But, 
gentlemen, how inconsistent is the act here imputed to 
me, with the caution ascribed to me, in the pretended in- 
structions produced by Power; which he says were writ- 
ten by Nolan, to conceal my hand writing from expo- 
sure ? Would the most negligent person, engaged in such 
a criminal enterprise, have been so regardless of his 
safety, as to commit his own hand writing, on so impor- 
tant a concern, as a list of pensioners? Or can it be be- 
lieved, on the other hand, that if I had been so indiscreet, 
that Mr. Clark, a young man, and a stranger in the coun- 
try, could have insinuated himself so fully into the confi- 
dence, of the most jealous government on earth, as to have 
obtained access to papers, wliich every motive of policy 



I3g MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, and of interest, sliould have shrouded under the impene- 
^^' % trjible veil of secrecy ? 

Mr. Clark swears, he had no personal knowledj^e of 
my receipt of money, on account of my pension, until the 
years 1793 and 94 ; and it seems that my adversaries have 
laid the precise scene, of my supposed corruption, between 
the years 1790 and 97. — In this arrangement, on which 
no doubt much stress has been laid, they have been un- 
fortunate ; for it is within tlie knowled.e;e of a memberof this 
honourable court, that I joined the army at Fort Washing- 
ton, December, 1791 ; and it is a truth, which no one will 
he hardy enough to deny, that I have not, from that day to 
the present hour, visited Kentucky. It is equally true, that 
I have from that period, with a few involuntary intermis- 
sions, been actively engaged in the public service; and 
from my resumption of the sword, until the peace of Green- 
ville, tlie testimonials from the War Dopartment, under the 
administration of General Washington,* which have been 
read in evidence, and more particularly the testimony of 
my brethren in arms,f will evince, that I ran a course of 
hardships and hazards, sufferings and perils, which 
greatly exceeded tlie obligations of duty and honour. — 
According then to Mr. Clark, I must have been in the 
constant receipt of a pension for doing nothing; but what 
is the natural conclusion? Surely, that, if I had received 
money for corrupt purposes, I would have endeavoured 
to disseminate the poison, among my fellow citizens : has 
any instance of tliis kind been hinted at? No! Has any 
person been named, \v!»oni I Itave attempted to seduce from 
his allegiance? No! Has any one been mentioned, or 
can anyone be found, to whom I have offered money, for 
any political purpose whatever? I answer, No! n«)t one. 
Truly tljcn, [ must have been a.mostusefnl agent to the Spa- 
niards, and a most dangerous traitor to my own country ! 

Mr. Chirk, witli unblushing cff^rontcry, pleads his obli- 
gations as a Spanish subject, for not liaving exposed to 

* See Appendix, Xo. XIX. 

I See Appendix, No. XX,--Burr'3 Trial, First Series, page 202. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 133 

the American government, at an earlier period, the tiir- chap. 
pitude he now ascribes to me; — evidently, with the triple ^^' 
view, to mask his treachery to the government of his 
choice, to excuse his delinquency to tliat which had pur- 
chased him, and to stamp his vindictive pursuit, with the 
cliaracter of patriotism ; here, indeed, his memory has 
failed him, or he has calculated on my forgetfulness, of 
his political course. As a man of honour and a faithful 
subject, he was certainly bound to conceal the sinister 
intrigues, of the government to which he owed allegiance, 
and looked for protection. But did he do so, as he would 
now fain make us believe ? Let his memoir^ transmitted to 
the secretary of state, in 1798, — let his secret information^ 
communicated to Mr. Ellicottin the year 1797, — his transmit- 
tal of certain letters to the secretary of state, im'puted to the 
Baron of Caroiydelct, in the year 1803, — and his verbal 
communications to the President of the United States declare. 
I take not account of wliole scores of his letters, in myjpos- 
session, written while a Spanish subject at New Orleans, 
and bearing date from the year 1798 to 1803 inclusive, 
in which, to recommend himself to my confidence, he con- 
tinually betrays his own government, and as constantly 
breathes the strongest expressions of attachment, to that of 
the United States. 

Daniel Clark has declared, on his oath, that «i?i the 
month Qt October 1 798, he visited me by particular request, 
at my camp at Loftus Heights, where I had shortly before 
arrived,'* and that I tliere held conversations with him, on 
the subject of my pension. The fruitful genius of Mr. 
Clark, like the magician's wand, converts me into every 
shape to suit his purposes. I am cunning or unwary, 
cautious or indiscreet, as the tenor of his tale requires. 
Is it to be credited, that the commander of an army? 
should liave invited a foreigner to his camp, for the ex- 
press purpose of betraying to him, his criminality against 
his own government? common sense revolts at the idea, 
and reason rejects the proposition. 

I took my position at Loftus Heights, on the 5th Octo- 
ber 1798 ', the unele of Mr. Clark resided at the plantation 



iuled. 



134 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, of Clarksville, two miles from my camp; and my accuser 
*^ dwelt in New Orleans, reputed to be two hundred and 
Daniel ^'^^^ miles distant. A letter from Colonel Clark the un- 
CSark's cle, provcs, incontestibly, that his nephew Daniel, my ac- 
tiiauTe^" cuser, did not dine with me by « my particular invita- 
dinedwith tiou," but at hls own instance, as will be made manifest, 
Wilkin- ^y t^f'C following quotatio4i from that letter, which has 
son, at the i)cen read in evidence to this court. 

General's 
request, in 

^'"^I'i""- ,, Clarksville, October 22d, 1798. 

end of Oc- . 

tobei-, re- ** Mr. Clark, my namesake, arrived here last night; he 
tvishes to have the pleasure to sex you, as soon as he is a 
little recovered from his fatigue. If yon xvill permit him and 
J to wail on you to-morrow, and take soup with you, tvt 
shall be honoured." 



My letter of October 23d, which is produced as evi- 
dence of my invitation to him, is obviously in reply, to 
Colonel Clark's letter above quoted, and was intended to 
postpone their visit, to the 24th of the month ; in conse- 
quence, I suppose, of some engagement of business, 
which occupied me on the 2od ; Mr. Clark's assertion on 
oath, that he visited me, " at my particular re- 
quest," is thus falsified j and my letter produced by him. 
as an original invitation, is shewn to be a decorous post- 
ponement, of the proposed visit, of the self-invited Clarks. 
It is of itself, a most trivial and unimportantcircumstance in 
this enquiry, whether Mr. Clark was invited by me, or 
wlicther he came on his own invitation; whether he spent 
some days, or only an hour with me; he was the nephew 
and protege, of an honourable man, whom I highly re- 
spected ; of himself I knew but little, and I had no suspi- 
cion of the depravity and baseness of his heart. But 1 
have dwelt, upon the circumstance of tlie invitation, to 
expose Mr. Clark's entire disregard of trutli, and to shew 
with what facility, he could misrepresent any conversation, 
which might have taken place between us. He repre- 
sents the interview, as particularly sought for on my part, 
as if intended to give me an opportunity, of removing the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 135 

unfavourable impressions he had imbibed, and to satisfy chap. 
his mind; of the integrity of ray intentions for the future ; ^^• 
when, in fact, it originated with himself, and my society 
was solicited and courted by him, although he now 
swears, he knew I had been guilty, of what wjis always 
odious to him. As a furtlier proof, of Mr. Clark's utter 
contempt of truth, when speaking under the solemnity of 
an oath, I have offered the testimony* of Doctor Carmi- 
chael, Doctor Elmer, the late Colonel Scott, and also of 
Colonel Kingsbury, in evidence before the court, to 
prove, that Mr. Clatk did not spend with me, the time 
he mentions in October ; and these witnesses would, I am 
sure, be believed by all men of honour, who know them, 
if they declared on their words only. The letter too, of 
Colonel Clark, of the 25th of October, the very day after 
they dined with me, dated two o'clock, and stating that 
■♦'Dan had gone in quest of the star-gazers,''! 
places it beyond question, that Mr. Clark's statement, 
relative to his continuance in my tent in October, is utter- 
ly false. The conclusive nature of these proofs, have 
<lriven Mr. Clark to the necessity, of admitting the false- 
hood of his statement on oath, and of changing the period 
of my confessions, from October to November ; and he 
has now forwarded letters to shew, he spent some time 
"with me in the early part of November. It will not be 
forgotten, that in liis book, published more than a yeai: 
after he made his affidavit, he still insisted, tliat 
his visit of several days was in October, although he Iiad 
the proofs in his possession, to shew, that if this visi- 
tation TOOK PLACE AT ALL, IT WAS IN NOVEMBER ; I 

mention these facts to prove, how pertinaciously Mr. 
Clark insisted on a known falsehood, and how^ reluc- 
tantly he is driven to acknowledge the truth, as if 
he preferred tlie former to the latter, even in a case, where 
either was a matter of indifference, as to the points at 

* See Appendix, No. XX[.— Third Report Committee of Congress, 
Mr. Bacon chairman, page 168 to 172. 

f Meaning- the commissioners who were running' the line of c-e 
tnarcation. 



136 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, isaiie ; lor, surely, I can feel no concern, as to the time or 
duration of any visit, I may have received from Clark ; 
his spending two or three days with me, would only 
prove, that I treated him with hospitality, and this I 
have never denied ; but he swears, he spent three days 
and nights with me in October, and the falsehood has 
been exposed. From the letters now produced, it seems 
probable, he visited my camp in November 1798, and 
spent some days in it ; yet if he did, I have not the most 
faint recollection of the circumstance, nor can tliis ap- 
pear extraordinary ; because a visit from Daniel Clark 
to me, could not be considered, a matter of such high dis- 
tinction, or such grave importance, as to be remembered 
for nine years. And when Mr. Clark swore, that this 
visit had been made in October, and by my invitation, 
1 confess I felt the conviction, which I now feel, that 
he had sworn falsely; and, in forming this conclusion, I 
was governed by facts, within my own knowledge. Ii 
will be remembered, that tliese letters were never offered 
in evidence, until the moment before I began the delivery 
of my defence, on Saturday; and w€ can be at no loss, to 
perceive the reason, why they were so tardily and reluc- 
tantly produced. It is a desperate effort of Mr. Clark, 
to convert a voluntary falsehood, in which he had been 
detected, into the appearance of a mistake ; he had suffer- 
ed his affidavit, delivej-ed to the House of Representa- 
tives, on the nth of January ISOS, to rest on its own 
merits, although conscious of its falsehood, until the 6tli 
iVovember 1811; but in making this effort, Mr. Clark 
has furnished the strongest testimony of my integrity, 
and of tlje baseness of the rest of his deposition ; for the 
letters lie has now produced must prove, past doubt, that 
the confessions he pretends I made t(» him, arc a gross 
and groundless fabrication. Long before the production 
of these letters, I had offered in evidence the letter, from 
the elder Clark to me, dated 3d November 1798,* here- 
tofore quoted. 

* See Appendix, No. VIII. 



GENERAL TVILKINSON. I37 

One of the letters now produced, on the part of the chap. 
prosecution, to prove Mr. Ch^rk's visit to me in Novem- *^ • 
ber, is from my accuser to liis uncle, to which it appears 
I affixed a postscript; it bears tlie same date of the letter 
last referred to, and is an answer to it; in this letter, the 
younger Clark, alluding most obviously to the proposi- 
tion and wishes, contained in his uncl(?s letter to me, for 
taking New Orleans, professes himself most willing to 
co-operate, although he has since declared on oatli, that 
he was at that period subject to the Spanish laws. He 
says, « / ivill not fail on every occasion to aid and abet the 
sentiments in your letter oj this morning ,•" that is, in taking 
New Orleans ; — and the strong terms of my postscript, 
shews how heartily my wishes concurred, with those of 
the elder Mr. Clark, and evinces the perfect concert of 
the uncle, the nephew and mysci^f, in our opinions aojd 
views on that subject,* my words are, «• I would to Hea- 
ven I COUID PROCURE, AN ORDER FOR THE OPERATION 
TOU WISH, WHICH 1 AS ANXIOUSLY DESIRE AS YOU CAN. 
I WOULD HAZARD MY FAME AND FORTUNES, WITHOUT 
MUCH HESITATION, TO PRECIPITATE AN EVENT WHICH 
IS TO HAPPEN." 

The language, to my tried and honourable friend, ts 
the strongest contradiction I would ask, to the calumny 
of the younger Clark. It cannot be believed, that, while 
I was thus anxiously wishing an order, which would have 
brought me into immediate collision with the Spaniards, 
and placed me in a situation to insure their most decided 
hostility, I should, to the nephew and protege of the same 
man, have been confessing my guilt, and asking his aid, 
to procure the arrearages of my corruption ; this too 
under the eye of a man, (in a postscript of a letter writ- 
ten by him) to whom I had just disclosed my guilt, and 
made known my entire dependence, on the Spanish go- 
vernment of New Orleans, for mercy and concealment; 
if I had been their pensioner, must 1 not have shuddered 
at tlie thought, of hostilities with them, which would have 
compelled me to take, an open and decided part, and whe- 

VOL. 11. S 



138 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, ther, in I'avour of my own government, or against the Spa- 
*^" niards, the consequenees would have been fatal to my ho- 
nour? and what must we think of Mr. Clark, if he thus 
witnessed the duplicity and treachery of my conduct, to 
!\is aged and respectable relative, and yet continued to 
court my society and seek my friendship? Mr. Clark has 
felt the awkward predicament, in wiiich the production 
of this letter would place him, and this accounts for the 
extreme unwillingness, with which he produced it. 

For the purppse of giving some colouring of probability, 
to the strange story of my confessions to him, Mr. Clark 
has deposed, " that I had heard of remarks made hij him o)>, 
the subject of my pension^' which rendered me \cry unea- 
sy, and I was desirous of making some arrangements with 
him on the subject ; to tliis statement Mr. Clark has po- 
sitively sworn, without any reserve or qualification ; hv 
knew that so long ago, as the spring of the year 1808, in 
my defence before the court of enquiiy, I ciiargcd the 
whole of the deposition, as far as it went to eliminate me, 
to be a tissue of wilful and corrupt perjuries. If my 
charge, against Mr. Clark's veracity, was not well-found- 
ed, it must have been completely in liis power, to support., 
by otlier testimony, the assertions made in that part of 
his deposition just quoted. To whom had Mr. Clark 
made remarks on the subject of my pension, before the year 
1798.^ From whom had I heard of those remarks? and 
who told Mr. Clark I had heard of them? If these circum- 
stances had a real existence, they must, from their very 
nature, be susceptible of proof, by other testimony than 
Mr. Clark's oath. Why has he not, before some of thc 
Commitlces of Congress, or before this court, produced this 
Ifisiimomj? His omission to produce it, must be consider- 
ed as conclusive evidence, that it does not exist ; and if it 
does not now exist, and Clark is unable to account for 
the non-production of it, then he has consequently sworn 
falsely :■ — Because the very incidents deposed to by him, 
imply the agency of a third person, who might be prodticed 
or named as a witness, if Mr. Clark^s statement was true. 
Mr. Clark appears to have felt, that the story he was in- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 139 

venting, of my humble acknowledgments to him, was, in CHAP. 
itself, too absurd and ridiculous to gain belief, unless he ^^' 
could strengthen it by some circumstances, that might 
possibly have led, to so singular a conversation, between 
the commander in chief, of the American army, and a 
young adventurer, almost a stranger, whom I had not 
seen, from the time of my first visit to New Orleans in 
1787, and who, so far from having made, any unfriendly 
remarks about my conduct, had, in his memoir to the se= 
cretary of state, dated a few months before the period of 
this visit, spoken of me in the most flattering terms. It is 
a story, which would more properly find its place, amidst 
tales of romance, than in a grave collection of testimony, 
intended to support criminal charges, against an officer of 
rank, in a court of justice. 

In his affidavit, Mr. Clark swears that *< two gentle- 
men, by the names of Collins and Owen, friends and 
agents of General Wilkinson, came to New Orleans in 
the year 1794." Oweji was murdered, and Mr. Clark 
may say of him, as he has done of Nolan, and Gayoso, 
and Carondelet, what he pleases, without hazard of con- 
tradiction ; but Collins happened to be alive, and his de- 
position, befare the court, gives a flat contradiction to 
Mr. Clark's statement in two instances, viz. Mr. Clark 
swears the money received, by him amounted to § 11,000, 
and Collins swears the sum to have been S 6333^* and in 
corroboration of the deposition of Collins, I refer to the 
letter of Philip Nolan, Jan. 6th, 1796, inclosing the account 
of Gilbert Leonard, before exhibited to tlie court, and the 
lettei'f of Gilbert Leonard, now produced to the court. 

Mr. Clark goes on to swear, " M the period spoken oft 
and for some time ajterrvards, I was resident in the Sya- 
nish territory, subject to the Spanish larvs, and without an 
expectation of hccoming a citizen of the United States; my 
oUigations were to conceal, and not to communicate to the 
government of the United States, the projects and enterprizeSf 

* See Appendix, No. XXII.— Third Report of the Committee of 
Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 53. 

t See Appendix, No. XXUI.— Third Report of the Committee of 
Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 59. 



140 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, which Thavc mentioned, of General Wilkinson and the Spa- 
nish government 

The vulgar adage, wliich requires *« a good memory" 
for its basis, would apply here with great force. Mark 
the inconsistency of tliis very conscientious gentleman ; 
for however subficrvieiit lie may now attempt to make 
his oath, to his perfidy and falsehood, he did, in the year 
1797, as has been shewn, " betray the government to tvhich 
he owed allegiance, to the secretary of state, Jfr. Pickering ; 
and, about the same time, to Andrew Ellicoit, then commis- 
sioner of limits; and, on the 8tl) of March, 1803, he address- 
ed tiic secretary of state (Mr. Madison) in the following 
terms, having previously delivered to Mr. Jefferson, a 
confidential letter of the 17th June, 1796, from Governor 
Gayoso to his deceased uncle,* which he had found among 
the papers of the dead, and passed off for one to himself.f 
D. Clark's ** ^s a proof that expectations of assistance from ourselves 
letter to fin-ainsf our own s:overnment, have been always relied on 

secretary o o j 

Madison, by the Spaniards, and that they have constantly looked to a 
division of our western states from our general government, 
I now forward you an order to receive from Washington 
Morton esq., of JSTew York, a sealed jmcket, which I left in 
his possession when I set out for Europe, and which I then 
mentio7ied I would shew you at my return; not thinking, at 
that time, that circumstances would, occur so soon, as to 
render the disclosure, a measure of immediate necessity, 
^mong other papers of less importance in this packet, ISA 
SMALL PART OF THE CORRESPONDENCE OF 
THE BARON DE CARONDELET WITH THE 
OFFICER COMMANDING FORT ST. FERDI- 
NAND, AT THE CHICKASAW BLUFFS, in which 
he suffers his plans and vieivs to be clearly perceived, and 
which were solely aimed at our destruction; the remainder 
are, as well as I recollect, copies of talks and letters to and 
from the Chickasaw Indians; and, by the Baron dc Caron- 
deleVs letter to the ofp.cer, you will perceive, that the fact, I 

* See Clark's proofs, page 143. 

•j- See Appendix, No. XXIV. — President's Message lo the House of 
Representatives, January 20, ISOo. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 141 

advised you off respecthitg the annual pension of Jive hundred chap. 
dollars to Ug^ibujcabe,* cannot be disputed. Should you ^^■ 
think these documents of sufficient importance, to require my 
presence in Washington, to elucidate any part of them, I 
shall immediately sacrifice all piivate hiisiness of my own, 
and hasten there; and, in the mean time, will endeavour to 
collect from undoubted sources, such other information, rela- 
tive to tJiese subjects, as may be acceptable. 

■" Jilthough, for four or fve years past, I had a perfect 
conviction, that the intrigues of the Spaniards with the 
western country were not, for the time, dangerous, on ac- 
count of the incapacity of the governors of this province, and 
their want of pecuniary means; yet, fearful of what might 
happen in future, should more enlightened and ambitious 
chiefs preside over it, I conld not last year, resist the temp- 
tation of hinting my suspicions, of what luid been eoemek- 
lY done in this way, to the President, at an interview xvith 
which he honoured me ; and I even went so far, as to as- 
sert, that a person, supposed to be an agent from the state of 
Kentucky, had been here in the end of ±795, and the begin- 
ning of 1796, to negotiate on the part of that state, inde- 
pendently, for the navigation of the Mississippi, before the 
result of the treaty of Saint Lorenzo was known; wishing 
that this hint might induce the President, to cause enquiry 
to be made into the circumstance, which he could easily fnd 
the means of investigating ; but, as he made no other en- 
quiry of me respecting it, than merely in rvhat year the thing 
happened, it then stntck me, that he must have had other 
information on the subject; and that he thought it needless 
to hear any thing more about it. By great accident, I 
have lately learned something, which induces me to sup- 
pose, that any informatioii he may have received, respecting 
the measure alluded to, has been incorrect, and given with 
the view of misleading him; and I request, you will men- 
tion the subject, anew to him, that you may know how far 
I am rigJtt in my suspicions. Tlie information I possessed 
on the subject, coidd not, from the way in whicJi it was ob- 
tained, be accompanied with what would be ptroof to convict 

* The wolf's friend, a Cbickasavv chief. 



14^ MEMOHIS BY 

CHAP, the person co)icerned, or I should have openly accused him 
IV. in the face of the world; but to me, it amounts to a moral 
^^'"^''"^^ certainty of his guilt; and my conduct to him shewed, on 
all occasions^ how much I detested his object and his person. 
The same want of proof positive, sufficient to convict him, 
prevents me, at present, from naming him; but, if enquiry 
is diligently made about the iiiflnenlial character from Ken- 
tucky, who at that period was so long in J\''atchex,, and af- 
terwards here, what his business was, and what wus the 
idea entertained of him, enough will, doubtless, be discovered, 
to put our government on its guard against him and others 
of his stamp, and against all foreign machinations, in that 
quarter, infutine.'* 

These palpable falsehoods, in which Mr. Clark is thus 
detected, were introduced, no doubt, to fit the public mind 
for the receptioji of the poisonous conversation, which ho 
Iiad prepared forme; but, after this detection, they will 
serve only as a criterion, by which to estimate the se- 
quel. He has been proved guilty of perjury, in all his 
statements, relative to myself, where there was a possi- 
bility of producing testimony. 

From Mr. Clark's statemeul, it also appears, that I 
introduced the conversation, and that it was my object to 
persuade him, to negotiate the settlement of the balance, 
then due to me, for Governor Gayoso's plantation : ho 
says, that the affair of tlic pension, had always been 
odious to him! Is it not reasonable, that I should have 
sounded a stranger on the subject, before 1 made a pro- 
posal to him, and, tbat discovering the proposition to be 
odious to him, and that he declined having any agency 
in the business; is it probable, nay possible, that any 
man in bis senses, much less a chief in command of an 
army, should have so directly answered the question,* 
and confessed himself a traitor? — The idea is too extra- 
A'agant, and too absurd for a second thought; nor is it 
presumable, that Mr. Clark, considering our relative si- 
tuations, would have had the impudence to have made 
such an enquiry. 

* See Clark's statement to Congress, Jan. lltb, IgflS. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 1^3 

As I have observed, on a former occasion, it is an easy chap. 
matter to charge a man with being a pensioner, and Mr. '^' 
Clark has felt no difficulty, in making the allegation 
against me, but without a shadow of circumstance to sup- 
port his charge, and I will venture to aflSrm, without a 
possibility of supporting it. 

It now becomes necessary for me, to bring Mr. Clark 
into conf ict with himself; to contrast the vindicator of 
1807, with the persecutor of 1808; the friend of the for- 
mer period, with the enemy of the latter ; and from his 
ovai words and works, to produce his condemnation. It 
will be observed, that to get rid of a palpable contradic- 
tion, Mr. Clark denies positively in 1808, what he, in 
1807, asserted without reserve. 

In the deposition* of General Smith, which is before 

* Extract of a letter from General Samuel Smith to General Wil- 
kinson, produced by the former, and read in evidence before t^c 
Court of Enquiry at Washington, Tuesday, March 29, 1808. 

" Wasliirtgton, March 1st, 1807. 
On or about the 20th February past, being in the senate chamber. 
Mr. Daniel Clark took me aside, and said, " I understand that Mr. 
Lattimore (of the Mississippi Territory) has read a letter from Colo- 
nel Claiborne, stating that Colonel Burr had sUid, that General Wil- 
kinson did receive a sum of money, I think §10,000, from the Spa- 
nish government, for secret services; that he, Clark, knew perfectlj-, 
from undeniable proof, that no money had been given that gentleman, 
for that our mayor (meaning the mayor of New Orleans), had men- 
tioned the same tale to him (Clark), on his arrival at New Orleans, 
and asked him if it was true ; that he (Clark) answered, that he did 
iiot believe it, but could inform himself correctly on the subject ; that 
he waited on the Intendant, who, on being asked the question, did 
declare on his honour that it was false, for General Wilkinson had 
never received one dollar from the Spanish government : but for your 
better sati;sfaction, I will submit to your inspection, the book in whicli 
all payments for secret service are inserted : he did so, and I (said 
Clark) did examine the same carefully and critically, and can assure- 
you on my honour, that there was no charge therein of payment made 
to General Wilkinson, or for his use, eithertdireclly or indirectly; and 
further, that our house did his commercial business at Orleans, 
and that if any such transaction had taken place, it must m some way 
have come to his knowledge ; that he had thought it due to General 
Wilkinson to communicate this circumstance, and added, I authorise 
you to make use of my name, in case you think proper on this subiecV, 
and for that purpose have mentioned it." 



14^fc MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, the comt, Tou will find Mr. Clark had exculpated me, 
^^ from ali suspicions of having received money from the 
^'*'~''^**^ Spaniards, for conupt purposes; but, that, after the 
lapse of nearly a whole year, he corner forwai-d with Mr. 
Harper's explanations, to do away the General's impres- 
sions; and insists, that he has been misunderstood, and, 
that, lie only alluded to the rumour, of my having re- 
ceived money in the year 1804 Now, as General Smitli 

could have no motive to bias his acceptation, of Mr. 
Clark's voluntary and unsolicited declaration; and, as 
it appears by Oliver Pollock,* that the General did, at 
his instance, reduce it to writing on the same day, the 
probability would be on his side; it is tliereforc presuma- 
ble, that Mr. Harper, or Mr. Clark, has been mistaken; 
for, if Clark had used the same language to General 
Smith, which Mr. Harper declares lie did to him, it must 
have produced an unfavourable elfcct on the General's 
mind, and excited doubts of my former integrity :— But, 
whatever may have been the understanding, between Mr. 
Harper and Mr. Clark, it forms no argument against 

» Extract from the dcposilluu ol' Oliver roUock, Stli .Tunc, 1808. 

" Question 21. (By General Wilkinson before the Court of Enquiry) 
^-Hacl you any particular reason for desiring General Smitli to com- 
mit to writing, what Clark had said to him, respecting General Wil 
kinson ? and if so, be pleased to state it. 

" Jliisn<er.—'My principal reason was, that as Mr. Clark had to re- 
turn to New Orleans, and some accident might happen to him, this 
information might at some day or other be of service to the United 
States, or to General Wilkinson. 

" Qucsiion 2. (By General Wilkinson to Oliver I'oUock, before the 
Committee of Congress.)— Had you any other motive except that 
which you have assigned, foF advising General Smith to commit 
Clark's communication to him, respecting General Wilkinson, to 

writing ? 

«' .Answer.— \es, I had. Notwithstanding no accident might happen 
as to Daniel Clark's personal safety, yet some might happen to aject 
his memorij, as well as tliat of General Smith's. Tills struck me at the 
moment General Smith mentioned that ' Clark and 1 agreed so well ;' 
and considering it a matter of such importance to the United States, 
I thought that it was best Cor (ieneral Smith to commit it to writing.'* 
—See Oliver Pollock's examination ; Third Report Committee of Con* 
Mr. Bacon chairman, p. 59. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 145 

Genci-al Smith's comprehension of the conversation, lield chap, 
with him at different times ami places. But a vohime ^^ 
of testimony pi'e^ents itself, to confirm General Smith's 
understandinj^ of Mr. Clark: liis excellency Governor 
AVright, of Maryland, whose ch'position is before the 
court, declares, that •' in a conversation ■xvilh Mr. Clark, on 
the subject of the pension attributed to General WUkinsonf 
he (Clark) without specijic allusion to any particular time 
or sum, but speaking of the charge generally, said, he had 

liXAMINED THE SECRET SERVICE MONEY BOOKS, FROM 
A TO Z, AND THAT WlLKlNSOX's NAME WAS NOT ON 
them; and that he believed him PERrECTlY IN- 
NOCENT or THK CHAR RE." 

The testimony of General Smith is, also, confirmed by 
that of the honourable Willis Alston jun., member of Con- 
gress from the state of North Carolitiu, now before the 
court; which, moreover, goes to convict Mr. Clark of 
falsehood, in the assertion, that Mr. Alston had told him. 
General Smith had acknowledged. General Wilkinson's 
receipt of ten thousand dollars from the Spaniards, but- 
that it was in payment for tobacco ; Mr. Clark, without, 
naming* Mr. Alston, introduces this circumstance into 
his deposition. — Wretched man ! he may thus evade pub- 
lic odium, but such subterfuges will not avail him at tlwi 
bar of Heaven. 

The deposition of Colonel William Lowry, also before 
the court, goes to the same point: he sets forth, that 
« Mr. Clark acquitted me of being a Spanish pensioner; 
said, he had particularly examined, in order to satisfy 
himself, and found no cause to impeach my integrity; he, 
also, exjdicitly declared my connexion with the Spaniards, 
to have been commercial, and detailed certain incidents, 
connected with my first enterprise, highly to my credit;" 
and to the same effect is, also, the deposition of James 

* In his deposition Mr. Clark Imputes this information to "a mem- 
ber of the house," but, in a subsequent explanation with General 
Smith, he names •' Mr. Alston." See his Book, p. 115, 

vox. II. T 



14(3 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
IV. 

Testimo- 
ny of llie 
honoura- 
ble Wal- 
ter Jones 
referred 
to. 



Lowry Donaldson esq.* which is in possession of the 
court. 

To tills point, gentlemen, before I dismiss it, I beg 
lea,ve to adduce tlie testimony of the honourable Wal- 
ter Jones, of Congress, which is most conclusive, in 
favour of General Smith's acceptation, of Mr. Claik's 
conversation: ♦♦ On one occasion,'' says Doctor Jones, « / 
enquired of Mr. Clark, concerning the charge against Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, of being a Spanish pensioner, as exhibited, 
particularly, in a Kentucky newspaper called the frcstern 
World; Mr. Clark informed me, that being intimate xvith 
the officer at JVexv Orleans, who had the disbursement of the 
public money, he apjylied to him to know, whether General 
Wilkinson was in the receipt of a pension from his goxern- 
ment; that the officer unlocked a drawer, and desired Mr. 
Clark to satisfy himself, by examining the book; that he, 
Clark, did examine the book, and did not find General Wil- 
kinson* s name in it. Any further particulars of this con- 
versation, if any occurred, are lost to my recollection; if 
was sufficient for me, to receive the impression of a strong 
proof, that the charge against General Wilkinson, of being 
a Spanish jjensioner, was groundless." The tenor of this 
gentleman's life and manners, are such as would place 
his word, above the oaths of all my accusers; whilst liis 
extreme caution and delicacy, in regard to Mr. Clark, 
when delivering his testimony before the court, marked 
his sensibilities to character, and evinced a broad impar- 
tiality. It was evident, that his candour flows in an 
even and undisturbed current. Mr. Chirk can never 
have the hardihood to deny, or attempt to explain away 
a statement so fairj nor will his warmest apologist, ven- 
ture to deny so unequivocal a fact. The preceding proofs 

* This patriot citizen, whose splendid talents, promised grcit 
usefulness to the state, and hitjh distinction to his name, fell in the 
prime of life, in the combat with the Briti.sh forces, on the 12th Sept. 
1815, in their approach to the city of Baltimore, when acting as adjn- 
tant to the 27th regiment of Maryland militia. Peace to his manes! 
honour to his memory ! 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. 14^ 

are corroborated by tbe deposition of Samuel P. Moore,* CHAP, 
wbicb also explains one of tbe motives, of Nolan's cxplo- ^^' 
ration of tbe Spanisb provinces, wbicb certainly does not 
indicate hostility to tbe United States. 

I submit to you, gentlemen, to decide, wbetbcr so many 
persons, conversing witb Mr. Clark at different times, 
and in different pliw:es, on the xitlantic and on tbe Mis- 
sissippi, could have misunderstood him ? It appears im- 
possible ! Governor Wright, General Smith, Doctor 
Jones, Colonel Lowi-y and Mr. Donaldson, all confirm 
tbe fact, that, in the year 1807, Mr. Clark declared to 
them, be bad examined the Spanisli books of secret ser- 
vice money expended, from the first to the last; that he 
did not find my name thereon ,• nor any entry, nor state- 
ment, to justify tbe belief, that a pension bad ever been 
given me. I beg to be indulged, in one further remark 
on this point ; I feel it to be a conclusive one, and there- 
fore, gentlemen, I claim your particular attention to it. 
If, I have ever been a pensioner, Mr. Clark certainly 
must have known it, at tlie very time he took so much 
pains, to vindicate me against tbe report of Colonel 
Claiborne ; under such knowledge, and occupying a seat 
in Congress, was it not his solemn duty to come forward 
and accuse me ? Surely it was ! But instead of discharg- 
ing tbe trust reposed in him, be vindicated my character, 
concealed my perfidy, and made himself a party to my 
guilt ; therefore, in whatever light my conduct may be 
viewed, Mr. Clark has unequivocally forfeited all preten- 
sions to patriotism, honour, and veracity. 

It is true, Mr. Clark has been so far consistent, as to 
begin and end in falsehood j for he swears, that he was, 
during tbe time referred to, tbe agent of the house, who 
were my consignees at New Orleans, and had an interest 
in my shipments ; and yet by reference to tbe deposition 
of Oliver Pollock, f and the letters of PbUip Nolan,:}: it 
will appear that this declaration is void of truth. I shall 

* See Appendix, No. III. 

-} See Appendix, No. .1. t See Appendix, No. II, 



i48 MEMOIRS BY 

CHA.P. not detain you mucli longer, gentlemen, with this dis- 
*^ ■ gusting exposition of a wretch, whose cunning, treache- 
ry, anil falsehood, have compelled me to occupy, already, 
too much of your time; in order, however, to put the 
stamp of dislionom* upon him, and to seal his infamy 
for ever, I will beg to call your attention to tlic deposi- 
tions of James Mather esq.,* mayor of New Orleans, and 
of S. P. Moore esq., H. P. Nugcntf and Thierry,t of the 
same city ; and also to the depositions of George Mather§ 
esq., and Colonel Wm. Wikolf,|| of the Orleans Territory, 
all of which have been read in testimony before this court, 
and conjointly attest, tl)e habitual mendacity, the politi- 
cal versatility, and the shameless con-uption of my accu- 
ser. Coupled with tlie profligate Langlois, it will be diffi- 
cult, after reading the evidence of Tiiierry and Nugent, 
to distinguisli tlie comparative infamy of the corruptor 
and the corrupted; — between Daniel Clark, who gave 
the bribe, or F. Langlois, Avho i-eceived the price of his 
oath ; and the depositions of Thierry and Nugent are the 
only answers, I can condescend to give, to the perjury of 
Langlois, which has been relied on in support of the 
prosecution. 

* See Appendix, No. XXV. f See Appendix, No. XXVI 

t See Appendix, No. XXVII. 

§ See page 103 (| See page 104 



GENERAL \^^LKINSO^, 149 



CHAPTER V. 

Deposition of Oliver Pollock referred to — Jlndrew EllicotVs 
affirmation examined. — Eviilcnce of General Washing- 
ton- s confidence. — Letter of General Wilkinson to General 
KnoXi secretary of wart January 31, 1796. — President 
.ildams^s letter of February, 1798 ; and his deposition, with 
a letter of the late Major-general Hamilton, thereto attach- 
ed and duly certified, dated 7th Sept. 1799. — Ellicotfs se- 
cret communications to the secretary of state, 1797 Sf 1798. 
— EllicotVs letter to D. Clark, January 14th, 1808. — Re- 
marks on D. W. Coxe. — EllicotVs (iffirmation, 2'Zd May, 
1808, critically examined. — Daniel Clark'' s motives and 
conduct, exjmsed. — Extraordinary letter from Ellicott to 
General Wilkinson, dated June 5, 1797, contrasted with 
his testimony. — EllicotVs letter to iJie secretary of state. 
Colonel Pickering, of the 14ih JVovember, 1797, exa- 
mined. — His journal, report, and affirmation, contrasted. 
— His letter of the ±6th December, 1798, to General Wil- 
kinson, exhibited. — EllicotVs letter to General Wilkinson, 
Sept. 4th, 1798. — His hostility accounted for. — D. W. 
Coxe's deposition, scrutinized. — His veiification of eigh- 
ty-two documents, presented by him to the committee of 
Congress, examined. 

I NOW call your attention, gentlemen, to the deposi- CHAP, 
tion* of Oliver Pollock, which, from its candour and com- ^ 
prehensive t'^nor, greatly interests the suhject, and does ouver 
honour to the witness ; his testimony corroborates Mr. Pollock's 
Clr.rk's memoir, of the 18th of April, 1798, to Mr. Pick- ^^^.f^'P 
eriug, then secretary of state, relative to my commercial to 
engagement with the Governor of Louisiana ,• it ascer- 
tains, as has been seen, the motives of the Spanish go- 
vernment, for opening the trade of the Mississippi u^^on 
my remonstrance ,• it establishes the fact, of my removal 
f»f Mr. Clark's uncle from my agency in 1789^ it prove*? 

* Sec Appendix, No. T. 



150 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, the extent of my commercial operations, and the nature 
^ ■ of my connexion with Governor Miro ; it shews tliat a 
quantity of my toliacco Avas condemned, and was lodged 
in the king's* stores, in the year 1790 ; and thus confirms 
the report of Power to Captain Bowyer, in 1798, and 
corroborates tlie statement of Nolan,| made in 1796 ; it 
testifies, that Mr. Clark senior, so far from being a man 
of Avealth, as the nephew's vanity has induced him to 
swear, was embarrassed, and in debt, both to Governor 
Miro, and John Barclay esq., of Philadelphia. It is no- 
torious, to every ancient inhabitant of Louisiana, that 
Mr. Pollock's connexion with the Spanish officers, at 
New Orleans, was the most intimate, and his inlluencc 
boundless, from the administration of Governor O'Reilly, 
to that of Governor Miro ; from the year 1769 to 1790 ; 
and, yet, being interrogated by the Judge Advocate, " Do 
you think from your footing with the Spanish Governor of 
Louisiana^ or any of its confidential officers, that if any citi- 
zen of the United States, had heen bribed to enter into any 
combination or connexion, adverse to the interests, or con- 
trary to the law and constitution of the union, you would 
have been, confidentially informed of it, by any officer of the 
Spanish government ?" The witness replied, " I think, 
from the confdential intimacy I had with the Governor and 
all the Spanish officers, that I should have known it, and 
being an agent of the United States, I should have thought it 
my duty, to have communicated it to the government." Yet, 
wonderful to tell, Mr. Clark, a straager, an adventu- 
rer AND A BOY, WITHOUT CHARACTER OR CONDITION, 

at once acquires a maturity of confidence, which the age, the 

experience, the fortune, influence, and public character of 

Mr. Pollock could not accomplish, in more than twenty years 

friendly intercourse : — I ask, is this thing credible ? and 

every rational man must answer in the negative. 

Andrew From this witness I w^ill lead you, gentlemen, to one 

EUicou's of a very different aspect ; it is Mr. Andrew Ellicott, the 

cxamineT celebrated astronomer, who must, certainly, poor man, 

* See (note) page 71. j ''ee (note) page 119. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 151 

have been under the influence of the moon, when he iii' chaP; 
listed in tlie service of Messrs. Coxe and Clark. ^ 

Mr. Ellicott* affirms, he was constituted a spy on my 
actions by General Washington, for the express purpose 
of detecting me, in corrupt practices, such as are now 
alleged against me j but, when you, gentlemen, examine Evidence 
the various testimonialsf of lionour, whicli I have receiv- ^y^g^'in^- 
ed from that illustrious chief, through the medium of the ton's con- 
secretary of war. General Knox ; when you reflect on *^^^'^'^® 
his continuance of me in the chief command of the army, 
at the very period to which Mr. Ellicott refers ; when 
you scrutinize my emphatic appeal to him, made in the 
year 1795, for an enquiry into my conduct, military , and 
2)oUtical; when you consider, how repulsive this great 
man's mind was, to low intrigues and base espionage, and 
how incapable it was of the reception of such slanders j 
when you perceive from Mr. Ellicott's own acknowledg- 
ments, that the, then, secretary of state (Colonel Picker- 
ing) actually forbade the further intrusion, of his ridicu- 
lous, and scandalous hearsays, on the executive ,• and 
when you discover that this witness, in his fondness for 
The marvellous, his propensity to defamation, and his 
sympathy for Mr. Clark, has perjured himself, over and 
over again; the paltry imputation attempted to be affixed 
by him, to the exalted character of General WasJiington, 
will not be attended to for a moment, especially, wjjen it 
can find no other support, than the affirmation of Andrew 
Ellicott. I proceed to read my appeal to General Wash- 
ington,:!: dated January 31, 1796,' the authenticity ol 
which, I could have proved by Colonel Cusliing,§ if ho 
Ijad been allowed to attend as a witness, agreeably to my 
anxious intreaty. 

But admitting this improbable assertion of Mr. Elli- 
cott, that he was employed as a spy, to be correct, what 

* See Appendix, No. XXVIII. — First Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Butler chairman, page 47. — Third Report Committee of 
Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 19- 

f See Appendix, No. XIX. + See Appendix, No. XXIX. 

§ Colonel Cushing's certificate has been since obtained 



l&a MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, was the result of the ungracious commission? A few vag- 
^ rant impressions, the effect of secret slanders, malicious 
interpretations, and idle rumours, formed the sum of Mr. 
Ellicott's gleanings ; and it appears, that after having 
seen all that Mr. Ellicott and other informers had to 
offer, neither General Washirsgton, nor President Adams, 
nor General Hamilton, nor President Jefferson, deemed 
tlieir calumnies worthy of attention. In proof of this, I 
shall now call the particular attention of the court to the 
following testimonials, which I have inserted in this de- 
fence, viz. two letters, from the late Major-general Knox, 
when dischai-ging the functions of minister of war to 
President Washington, a letter from President Adams, 
in 1798, and his answer to certain interrogatories, pro- 
posed to liim hy your consent, gentlemen, with a letter 
annexed thereto and duly ceitified, from the late Major- 
general Hamilton, bearing date Sept. 7th, 1799; which 
documents clearly demonstrate, the unskaken confidence 
of those illustrious characters, in my zeal, my capacity, 
and my patriotism, during the period of twenty years 
public service, from 1791 to 1811; and it will not escape 
your attention, gentlemen, that whilst the pretended 
« SPY, THE PERJURED PROFLIGATE ELLI- 
COTT," in concert with his associates Clark and Power, 
was labouring, by secret information, to assassinate my 
liumble, hard earned reputation ; the great and good Wash- 
ington, the saviour of his country, was exerting his influence 
10 forward my military promotion ; and in addition to 
These documents, permit me to add the message of Pre- 
sident Jefferson,* to the House of Representatives, Jan- 
20th, 1807, together with two letters from that illustrious 
sage and patriot. 

" War Departmenty Sept. 29, 1791. 

•• Sir, 

" I have the honour to acknowledge, the receipt of the 
copy of your report of the 29th ultimo, to Major-general 

* See Appendix, No. XXX. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 153 

St. Clair, which I have submitted to tlie President of the chap. 
United States. ^ • 

" I liave, by this past, instructed Major-general St. 
Clair, ti) thank you, if he liad not already performed that 
pleasing duty, in the name of the President of the United 
States, for the zeal, perseverance, and good conduct, ma- 
nifested by you, in the command of the expedition, and 
for the humanity observed towards the prisoners, whom 
you captured ; and also to thank tlie oflScers a^id privates 
of the volunteers, for their activity and bravery while 
under your command, and to express his hope, that you 
and they may enjoy, in future, entire peace, as a reward 
for your services. 

« Mr. Belli was waiting to receive the muster rolls of 
your corps j he has settled the accounts, and returns with 
the money for the amount. 

« I have the honour to be. Sir, 
<« With great respect, 

« Your most otedient servant, 
*. H. KNOX, 

*< Secretary of War. 
*' Brigadier-gmeral James Wilkinson" 



<( Fhiladelphia, Maij 17, 1793. 
" My dear Sir, 

" As the commanding General has descended the river 
to Fort Washington, it is unnecessary for me to reply 
particularly to your several letters, otherwise than to 
thank you heartily^ for the various, extensive, and im- 
portant wformation you have communicated, from time 
to time; all of which was duly communicated to the Pre^ 
siderit of the United States. 

" I am persuaded that your good sense as well as in- 
clination, will lead you to unite, cordially, with General 
Wayne, and to promote a spirit of harmony throughout 
the several corps. 

" Brigadier-general Posey, who will deliver you tliis 
letter, is a gentleman from whom, I flatter myself, the 
\0T,. IL U 



15* MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, service will derive solid benefits. I suppose he vtill ar- 
^" rive time enough to descend with Mrs. Wilkinson, with 
whom you will be at the time of receiving this letter, and 
to whom please respectfully to present my homage. 

« I have often expressed to her and Colonel Diddle, the 
pleasure your conduct gave the President of the United 
States. I am impressed with the conviction that you 
will persevere in the same paths. 

"My God! what an uproar in Europe. If the French 
nation shall be united, and consolidate their force within 
their own limits, they will be invincible, although they 
must suffer immensely in the process. But a doubt rests 
upon their union. If they are divided almost equally, 
they will be conquered. What a scene the European 
theatre would be for your military talents. Governor 
Lee talks of going to France, but I imagine the present 
untow ard state of things will detei* him. 

<* I am, my dear Sir, 

« Sincerely and respectfully, 
« Yours, 

"11. KNOX. 
« Brigadier-general TVilktnson.'* 



*i Philadelphia, Feb. 4, 1798. 
•• Dear Sir, 

« I received your favour of tlic December, by the 
Miami chief, the Little Turtle, and have received and 
observed him with attention. He is certainly a remark- 
able man. He is recovered of the small pox, and what 
is worse, a severe fit of the gout. We sliall endeavour to 
make him happy here, and contented after his return. I 
thank you for introducing him to me, and for the infor- 
mation you have given me concerning him. 

*« I have also received your letter of the 20th Decem- 
ber. It is very true that I have been tortured for a great 
part of the year past, with written anonymous insinua- 
tions against several persons in conspicuous public sta- 
tions, that they had formed improper connexions with 



GENERAI. WILKINSON. ±55 

Spain ; and among others, against yourself. It has been chap. 
frequently asserted, that you held a commission and re- ^• 
ceived pay, as a Colonel in the Spanish service. Tliis 
opinion appears to have taken such root upon the Mis- 
sissippi, among the people in general, that scarcely any 
man arrives from that neighbourhood, who does not bring 
the report along with him. They seem to be in such a 
temper in that region, that nobody escapes accusation. 1 
have not suffered these rumours, concerning you, to make 
impressions upon me ; but I have lamented what I per- 
ceived must be the consequence of them, among the peo- 
ple of the United States. The same jealousy and malice 
which transmitted them to me, I supposed would propa- 
gate them elsewhere without much reserve. 

*< I recollect, perfectly well, my injunction to you in 
person, to employ all the force within your power, both 
militia and regulars,, if necessary, to oppose the English 
or any other foreign nation, who should presume to at- 
tempt a violation of our territory, by any expedition 
through it, against their enemies. 

«' It would be a pleasure to me to nominate your son to 
a commission as you request; but in the first place, there 
is no vacancy in the artillery at present, as I am told; 
and secondly, it was a rule established by my predeces- 
sor, that the Ensigns should have attained the age of 
tvvejity-one, and I should be severely censured, for depart- 
ing from a military precaution of so high authority. 

" I recollect my consenting that you should make an ex- 
cursion, if in your judgment, the service would admit of 
it, to the copper country. I thank you for the sample 
you have sent me, vvhicli I design to have analysed. 

i( For yourself, sir, I will say, I esteem ijour talents; I 
respect your sei^vices, and feel an attachment to your per- 
son, as I do to every man, whose name and character, I 
have so long known in the sei'vice of our coimtryf whose 
behaviour has been consistent. 

"We maybe neater than we suspect to another trial of 
spirits: I doubt not, yoi-rs will be found faitliful. What 
measures you may think fit to take to silence the vibia- 



4S»6 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Nors RrMOTJRS and clamours of your connexions wsth 
^ S\tc\n atul France, I know Jiot; but no violent ones or 
military ones Avill do any good. I shall give no cov.ntenance 
to any impitationSf unless accusations should come, and 
then you wiil have room to justify yourself. But I assure 
you, / do not expect that amj charge ivill be seriously 
made. 

« I am, Sir, 

" Your most obed't. and humble servant, 
(Signed) « JOHN ADAMS. 

« General Wilkinson.*^ 



Answers of Joim Adams, formerly President of 
THE United States, to interrogatories transmitted to 
him in a letter of Gejural Wilkinson, of the 2d October, 
1811. 

**A)tswer 1st. — I have copied, with my own hand, from 
the original letter, in General Hamilton's hand writingj 
now before me, the whole of that letter. The copy at 
tested by me is inclosed with this, and is marked No. 3. 

*( Jnswer Qd. — While I had the honour to be Vice 
President, and afterwards, / heard many severe things 
said in public and private concerning General Wilkinson, 
which gave me much concern; because such rumours, sus- 
picions and insiiiuations, concerning an officer of his rank^ 
services and situation, had a tendency to injure the public 
service in the army, and bring dishonour on the government 
that employed him. I, therefore, d i scour vged no 

MEANS THAT WERE EMPLOYED TO INVESTIGATE THE 
TRUTH : BUT AS NO EVIDENCE WAS EVER PRODUCED TO 
ME, WHICH COULD JUSTIFY ANY PRESUMPTION, OR, AS 
I THOUGHT, REASONABLE SUSPICION OF HIS GUILT, OF 
ANY ILLICIT OR CORRUPT CONNEXION WITH THE SPA- 
NISH GOVERNMENT OF LOUISIANA, EITHER DURING THE 
ADMINISTRATION OF GENERAL WASHINGTON, OR THAT 
OF HIS SUCCESSOR, I CONSIDERED THOSE RUMOURS AS 
CALUMNIES, AND CONTINUED GENERAL WiLKINSON IN 
SERVICE AS LONG AS IT DEFENDED ON^ ME. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 157 

« I cannot venture to descend to particulars, merely chap. 
on memory ; and no written documents are, at present ^• 
witliin my reach.'* 

« Xew York, Sept. 7th, 1799. 
« Sir, 

« General Wilkinson, who has been some weeks in 
this city, in consequence of an invitation having for 
object the re-adjustment of our western military aifairs, 
is about to make a journey to Braintree, to pay his re- 
spects to you. On such an occasion, I hope it will not 
be thought improper, that I should address you on the 
subject of this officer; since what I shall say, will accord 
with what I know to ub the views of General Wash- 
ington, and with what, I have reason to believe, has been 
already suggested to you, with his support, by tlie secre- 
tary of war. You are apprised, sir, tJiat General Wil- 
kinson SERVED WITH DISTINCTION IN OUR REVOLUTION- 
ART AVAR, and acquired in it the rank of Brigadier-gene- 
ral; — that, for many years since that war, he has been in 
the military service of the government, with the same 
rank, in w hich rank he for some time had the chief com- 
mand of the army. That he has served with dis- 
tinction IN this latter period. General Wayne, 

WHO WAS NOT his FRIEND, HAS IN ONE INSTANCE 
within my KNOWLEDGE, VERT AMPLY TESTIFIED. - 

•'< Tiie decided impression on my mind, as the result of 
all I have heard or known of this officer, is, that he is 

eminently qUALIFIED AS TO TALENTS, IS BRAVE, EN- 
TERPRISING, ACTIVE AND DILIGENT, WARMLY ANIMAT- 
ED BY THE GENUINE SPIRIT OF HIS PROFESSION, and 

devoted to it. The recent communications between us 
have satisfied me, more than ever, that he is well 

ENTITLED TO THE CHARACTER I HAVE JUST GIVEN 

HIM. So circumstanced and so qtialified, all military 
usage and analogy give the General a very strong claim 
to promotion. His sensibility would suffer with reason, 
if he has it not, and it would require more than usual pa- 
triotism and magnanimity, to preserve liim from discon- 



158 MEMOms BY 

CHAP, tent and disgust. I, as well as others, have heard harJ 

^ things said of the General, but I have never seen the 

shadow of proof; and I liavc been myself too much the 

victim of obloquy, to listen to detraction, unsupported by 

facts. 

« Permit me to add, tliat I hold nothing so unwise, in 
public affairs, as half confidence ; — that, in my opi- 
nion, to employ a man in delicate and important 
STATIONS, and to act towards him so as to convince him 
THAT HE IS NOT TRUSTED, and is uot to reccivc tlje com- 
mon share of public reward, is the most effectual way that 
can be adopted to make him unfaithful : — While, if we 
only allow him a well informed ambition, his fidelity may 
be assured, by letting him see that it will best advance the 
interest of his ambition. 

" In hazarding these remarks, I do not mean to pre- 
sent to you observations, which could possibly escape 
your own reflections, but merely to indicate the manner 
of viewing the subject, which determines my judgment, 
that it is both right and expedient to promote General 
Wilkinson, to the rank of Major-general in the present 
army. Should the matter appear to you in the same 
light, I submit, whether it will not be proper, previously, 
to understand with General Wilkinson, that it may hap- 
pen, in the event that General Knox may be called into 
the army, with a priority to him. For this, there are 
many reasons, which will occur to you without being 
mentioned, and I may, without impropriety, add, that it 
will meet the ideas of General Washington. 

« In the course of his conversations with me. General 
Wilkinson has stated, that important advantages might 
result, from the appointment of leading characters at the 
Natchez, and elsewhere on the western waters, as of- 
ficers in the eventual army ; calling them immediately 
into service, with a title to the emoluments of their grades. 
I have not had time to reflect so maturely on the propo- 
sition, as to have formed a definitive opinion »f its expe- 
diency; but it strikes me in a very agreeable manner, 
and accordingly, I offer it to your consideration. The 



GENERAL WILKINSON. i59 

arguments in its favour will not requii'e to be specified, chap. 
in order to be appreciated by you. It is obviously a ^• 
powerful mean, of conciliating the inliabitants in the quar- 
ter to "fthich it applies, and of rendering tliem auxiliary, 
in case of need, to our military operations. It is pre- 
sumed, they may be provisionally embodied under leaders 
who may be selected. I will make no apology for the 
liberty I take by this letter. The solitariness of the ex- 
ample will, I trust, evince that it is not my wish, to 
travel out of the regular and ordinary road of communi- 
cation. 

« "With high respect and true esteem, 
« I have the honour to he. Sir, 
<« Your obedient servant, 

(Signed) **ALEX: HAMILTON." 

t( qiiincijf October 12, 1811. — The foregoing is a true 
copy of an original letter, from General Hamilton to me, 
in his hand writing, now before me, dated Sept. 7, 1799, 
this day transcribed and certified by me, 

(Signed) "JOHN ADAMS." 

I could confidently appeal to the affirmations of Mr. 
Ellicott, for my exculpation, because he has hearsay 
only to offer to my dishonour j whilst, on the other hand, 
he proclaims « a knowledge of my honour, my zeal 
AND my patriotism;" but I cannot dismiss him with 
so little ceremony. ' His singular attention to my inte- 
rests, for some time past, gives him a title to more for- 
mal notice; and, therefore, I must pray of you, gentle- 
men, to accompany me, in a full examination of his evi- 
dence. 

To render justice to myself, as well as to the astrono- EUIcott's 
mer, Ellicott, I am obliged to trespass extensively on ^^"^^ . 
your time; I regret it, but it is unavoidable. The secret cations to 
communications* of this witness to the secretary of ^^1^^''^'"^' 
state m 1797 and 1798, made fourteen years since, were, state. 1797 

and 1798. 
• See AppeadiXj No. XXXI. 



160 Memoirs by 

CHAP, for the first time, communicated to me, on the 20th of 
^' April last; they claim strict attention, and while you 
examine tlicm, I make no douht, the justice and niagiui- 
nimity of President Adams, will excite your admiration, 
and the candour and discernment of the secretary of state, 
Colonel Pickering, will receive your applause ; for pro- 
hibiting the officious intrusions, of Mr. Ellicott's scanda- 
lous hearsays, on t!ie executive attention. These letters 
of Mr. Ellicott to the secretary of state, are dated at 
Natchez, June 5th, and Nov. 14th, 1797, and at Dar- 
ling's creek, Nov. 8th, 1798 ; and the last covered a fa- 
brication, pretended by Ellicott, to be the copy of a letter 
from Governor Gayoso to Tliomas Power, bearing date 
October 23d, 1798'. These documents have been all re- 
ferred to, by Mr, Ellicott, in his deposition read before 
the court of enquiry, instituted upon my application, by 
order of the President, in the year 1808, and great stress 
has been laid on them, by Mr. D. W. Coxe, the author 
of Mr. Clark's scandalous publication. 

It would have been well for the honour of humanity, if 
(agreeably to Mr. Ellicott's original intention) these pa- 
pers had been consigned to perpetual oblivion; because 
their exhibition was not necessary, to stamp the proper 
value upon the characters of their authors; and they 
now unfohl a plan of matchless perfidy, projected (as I, 
with astonishment, perceive) so long ago as the 8th of 
November, 1798. 

Thus it appears, that the plot, which had for its ob- 
ject the ruin of my reputation, was formed at Natchez in 
June, 1797 ; and that the fictitious letter transmitted from 
Darling's creek, under the most solemn injunctions of 
secrecy, was intended to enforce the original slander, or 
to be stored up for any future exigency ; and the conspi- 
racy, of Burr and Clark, produced a suitable occasion for 
its applicatio)!. But it is as difficult to give consistency 
to a chain of fictions, as it is to deform the fair face of 
truth : in the instance before us, however cuiniing the 
conception or wicked the design, my enemies have failed 
in that happy combination of fact, circumstance, and mo- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. l6i 

tivCf wliicli acquires strength from scrutiny. They have chap. 
exposed themselves to detection, and stand self convicted ^' 
of perjury and forgery. Well might Mr. Ellicott express 
his regret to Mr. Clark, that he had kept no copy of this 
pretended letter of Gayoso to Power, and of his commu- 
nications to the office of state;* for if he had, these docu- EUicott's 

letter to 
Daniel 

- Letter from Andrew F.llicott to Daniel Clark. Clark, 

Jan. I4tb, 

" Lancaster, Jamtary I4th, 1808. 
" Dear Sir, 

" The letter mentioned In my Journal, in tlie 183d pagfe, from 
Governor Gayoso to a confidential Spanish officer, is, I presume, 
in the hands of Mr. Thomas Power: a copy of the interestinjj 
part will be found in the office of the secretary of state. This let- 
ter places the improper conduct of General Wilkinson, and some 
others of our citizens, in a point of view not to be mistaken. If cor- 
ruption be criminal, this letter establishes the criminality. When- 
ever I think of our army, and the state of the country, the following 
tines from Anacharsis never fail presenting themselves to my mind. 

" Les peuples de la Grece sont affo'iblis et corrumpiis. Plus de lois, 
plue de citoyens, nulle idee de la gloire, nid attache^nent an bien public. 
PartoiU, les vils mercenaires pour soldats, et des brigands pour Gene- 
reaux."* 

" To my knowledge, the present administration has been minutely 
informed of the conduct of General Wilkinson; and why he has been 
supported and patronised, after this Information, is to me an inexpli- 
cable paradox. 

" All the information that I was able to obtain on the subject of 
those intrigues, was faithfully detailed both to the former and the pre- 
sent administration ; and beyond those documents (which are depo- 
sited in the office of the secretary of state), I have no knowledge of 
those transactions. I now begin to wish J hud kept copies of those paperst 
but I have none. 

" I am, with great esteem, 

" Your sincere friend and humble servant. 
(Signed) " ANDREW ELLICOTT. 

'' Hon. Daniel Clark esq." 



* This passage from Anacharsis may be thus interpreted: "The 
people of the United States have become weak and corrupt, without 
laws and without citizens ; they have no idea of glory, no attachment 
lo the public weal ; they hare every where vile mercenaries for sol- 
diers, and brigands for generals." 

voi,. ir. X 



16^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, msnts W(»«M never have been exhibited to the world, to 
dishonour himself and render more infamous his perfi- 
dious associates. This interested witness had forj^otten 
the minutiae of his treacherous informations, but the ob- 
ject and essence wei'e fresh upon his memory ; and, in- 
stead of exhibiting that dispassionate temper, which be- 
comes a man about to be put upon his oath, he, in the 
true spirit of persecution, exultingly exclaims to his 
friend Mr. Clark, (when refcrrin,^ to this forgery of a 
letter from Gayoso to Power) <« If corruption be crimi- 
nal, tliis letter establishes the criminality;" and, to em- 
bellish his free gift to the cause of calumny, tlic consum- 
mate imposter. (with « ])eace and good will among men"' 
upon his tongue, but the most rancorous malice in his 
heart), to display his erudition, gratify his vanity, and 
damn me, as he hoped, beyond the possibility of redemp- 
tion, proceeds, in the same letter to his compeei*, to stig- 
matise the whole army, and proscribe the whole Ameri- 
can nation. 

Was these ever such an unqualified, unprovoked, im- 
pudent, unmerited and atrocious calumny, levelled at a 
whole nation? and for what purpose? Merely to add 
weight to my persecutions ! What American soldier can 
read this passage without indignation ? what citizen, 
without detestation and abhorrence? What must be the 
author of this vile denunciation of a whole people? — ^An 
abominable wretch! beneath their contempt! signalised 
for his destitution of candour and veracity; marked by 
cowardice and insincerity; and, under, a puritanical ex- 
terior, concealing a mind demoralised beyond all sense 
of shame,* and a heart steeled against every emotion of 
A word jnstice and humanity; and it is to Mr. Daniel W. Coxe, 
of D. w. and other persons whose names cannot bear the light, 
that tlie citizens of the United States are indebted for 
this opprobrious stigma: for it has been seen, that Da- 
niel W. Coxe, on oath, before a committee of Congress, 
acknowledged himself and other persons to be the authors 
of the book, published in the name of Daniel Clark, in 
» See Appendix, No. XXXII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ISS 

which they bring forward this impudent libel. Shame- chap 
less indeed must be the wretch, and unworthy the name ^" 
of an American, who, content to bear testimony to his 
own degradation, calumniates the country of his birth, 
and stigmatises its most distinguished citizens, to satiate 
the vengeance of baffled treason, upon the autiior of its 
discomfiture. As to Mr. Coxe, whatever may be his 
simpering, smiling exterior, his long association with the 
greatest villaiu of the world (Daniel Clark), the strong 
sympathies which their intercourse has begotten, and the 
lawless commerce in which they have been engaged, for 
twenty years, has seared his conscience, and silenced 
every « compunctious feeling" of nature. 

Before I enter, Mr. President, upon the analysis of 
these discoveries of the informer, Mr. Ellicott, let mc 
enquire how long it is, since they have been made ? to 
whom they were communicated, and what has been the 
result ? In pursuing this enquiry, we find that the last 
information was given, more than twelve years since j Colonel 
that it was addressed to Colonel Pickering, secretary of ^'jj^gecre- 
state, during the presidency of Mr. Adams j and that the tary of 
imposture was so evident, as to excite the disgust of the bids^the'^ 
executive, and produce a letter from Colonel Pickering intrusion, 
to the informer, prohibiting the intrusion of sucli hear- pott's' 
says and fictix)ns, on the executive attention. We have scanda- 
Mr. Ellicott's oath for this (if worthy of credit, when respecting 
speaking against himself), as may be seen in his answer. General 
to the thirtieth interrogatory of his deposition, submitted ^^^ 
to this court.* The knowledge of this fact alone, in any 
case but that of persecution, would have prevented a re- 
currence to these dormant legends, which, as if by the 
justice of heaven, are now brought to liglit, through the 
errors of my enemies — not to injure me, but to confound 
tliem. 

I thought proper to premise these facts and reflections, 
for the information of my judges, before I entered upon 
the examination of the documents in question, to which I 
shall now proceed. 

♦ See Appendix, No, XXVIH. 



164 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. The first of these important secrets, will be found in 
^ tlie following letter. 

Mk. Ellicott to the Secretary of State. 

*< J\^atcheZf June 5th, 1797. 
« Sir, 

« I have this moment received private information, 
that Mr. Power, who I have mentioned to you in my 
communication of yesterday, is, by order of the Baron 
de Carondelet, to proceed immediately through the wil- 
derness to the state of Kentucky. There is every rea- 
son to believe, that his business is to forward the vicAvs 
of Spain, by detaching the citizens of Kentucky from tlic 
union. It has been hinted to me, that Mr. Power will 
in the first instance pay a visit to General Wilkinson, 
who, we are informed, is now in Cincinnati. 
« I am sir, &c. &c. 

« ANDREW ELLICOTT. 
« The Secretary of State.'* 

This letter, it is true, conveys no distinct charge against 
me; but it directs the back-handed assassin-like blow at 
nie, by which a bad cause is best sustained, and inno- 
cence may be stabbed with impunity. After stating, 
distinctly. Power's traitorous views, on the citizens of 
Kentucky, this informer proceeds to observe, *<ii has 
been hinted to me, that Mr. Power was, in the Jirst in- 
stance, to pay a visit to General Wilkinson, who, we are 
informed, is now at Cincinnati.'* 1 must do credit to Mr. 
Ellicott for the art displayed in this brief paragraph: 
Our informer, no doubt, intended it to read thus: Mr. 
Power is going to Kentucky, to corrupt the citizens of 
that state, fi'om their allegiance to the United States, but 
is first to call on General >>'ilkinsr>n, to receive his aid 
Expos'i- and advice on the momentous subject. — But Mr. Ellicott, 
li'cou'saf. "^ his aflirmation of May 22(1, 1808, declares, "that 

firmation THIS INFORMATION WAS ANONYMOUS; BUT HE THINKS 
1808. ^^' IT WAS FURNISHED BY DaNIEL ClARKJ THAT POWEK 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 160 

WAS NOT APPRISED, THAT HE (EiLICOTT) KNEW OF CHAP. 

HIS (Power's) mission to Kentucky, or that he ^• 
WAS TO SEE General Wilkinson; and that he had 
said Power would leave nothing undone to his 
(General Wilkinson's) injury, which art, dupli- 
city AND INTRIGUE COULD EFFECT; THAT HE DID NOT 
UNDERSTAND THE INTERVIEW, PoWER WAS ORDERED 
TO SEEK WITH GENERAL WiLKINSON, WAS FOR ANY 
SINISTER PURPOSE, OR RELATIVE TO THE TREATY OF 

laiiENDSHip, LIMITS AND NAVIGATION." It may be 

worthy of remark, en yassant, that Power swears, he was 
sent to visit me at Detroit, by way of concealing his 
traitorous designs in Kentucky. Here I might dismiss 
the subject of enquiry, because the most implacable of 
my enemies, would scarcely undertake to deduce proofs 
from inuendoes; and I stand acquitted, on the oath of a 
member of the triumvirate, wh.o so long since conspired 
against my honour ; for Mr. Ellicott not only declares, 
that lie did not understand Power's visit to me, « was 
FOR ANY SINISTER PURPOSE," but that Powcr was my 
enemy, and disposed to do me " every injury, art, in- 
trigue AND DUPLICITY COULD EFFECT." It IS impos- 
sible I could have held, with such a man, confidential in- 
tercourses, the disclosure of which would have ruined me. 
But, Mr. President and gentlemen of the court, it is 
necessary to trace this information, to its source and 
its objects. Mr. Ellicott, on the 22d of May, 1808, 
SWEARS IT WAS ANONYMOUS ; but wcll knowing the 
author as he did, he admits, that « he suspects it 
was forwarded to him hj Daniel Clark;" yet, in his 
letter to the secretary of state, of Novembers, 1798, he, 
explicitly, avows " Mr. Clark to be the author." — 
Thus then it appears, that Daniel Clark commenced his 
machinations against me, as early as June, 1797, at the Daniel 
very era of his political conversion, when he determined, ^ |nd^,ct 
that it woidd be wise and just, to transfer his allegiance, and mo- 
froni the Spanish government which cherished him, to pos"({^° 
that of the United States, where he contemplated a wider 



166 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, range, for his enterprise, ambition and intrigue. Trea- 
^' chcry cankers the heart, and fits it for the darkest deeds -. 
in whatever garb it may appear, it is not less the offspring 
of corrnption, and the ally of perfidy. Can any one be sur- 
prised, then, that Clark, who violated his allegiance to 
Spain, should (after his disappointment from the govern- 
ment of the United States, where he contemplated the dbn- 
summation of his ambitious designs) league himself witli 
Colonel Burr, in his conspiracy against tiicse states? 
Nothing can be more natural; and it is only surprising 
(considering liis character), that the circumstance sliould 
liavc ever been, for one moment, doubted. But, wl>y he 
should have connected me with llie Spanish conspiracy, 
may require explanation; and here the restless impa- 
tience, the turbulent, invidious spirit, and mischievous 
propensities of the man, may furnish a solution; for with 
those dispositions, the destruction of an individual, when 
necessary to advance his ambition^ or promote his inte- 
rest, is a matter of light consideration to Daniel Clark. 
Having determined to turn informer against the govern- 
ment of his choice, it could not escape his discernment^ 
that tlie consideration he sought to acquire with the 
United States, would be in proportion to the services he 
might render; and this would depend, upon the magni- 
tude of the discoveries he sliould make. It \ery naturally 
occurred to him, that nothing could more sensibly en- 
liance the importance of his information, than to connect 
the military commander, on the western waters, with his 
patron, the Baron de Carondelet, in the conspiracy me- 
ditated against the union; but it was necessary he should 
proceed, with caution and circumspection, to feel the pulse 
of the administi'ation, and by the gradual excitement of 
their jealousies against me, to prepare their minds for 
the favourable reception, of the boldest calumnies. 

Thus, we perceive, Mr. Clark commences in June, 1797, 
with a mere inucndo; but in November, of the same year, 
he comes out with an important disclosure, which he endea- 
vours to authenticate, in November, 1798, by the forged 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 167 

letter to Power, imputed by Ellicott to the late Governor chap. 
Gayoso : that Clark was the author of this dark scene of 
villany, appears manifest from Mr. Ellicott's affirmation 
submitted to this court, and hh official letter to the se- 
cretary of state, of Nov. 8th, 179S. Was Mr. Clark wor- 
thy of credit, he has shewn in his affidavit, that he was 
in possession of the knowledge of ray connexion with 
Spain, as eaiiv as tlie year 179i; yet in June, 1797, wc 
find him commencing his calumnies, by anonymous insi- 
nuations only, conveyed to the government througli An- 
drew Ellicott j but, if in possession of the whole facts, as 
he lias sworn he was, and zealously dispensed to recom- 
mend himself to the United Slates, v/iiich I cannot doubt, 
why did not Mr. Clark make the tull disclosure at tluit 
time, which he made afterwards to Mr. Ellicott, in the 
month of November following? The plan he adopted for 
his communications, could not expose him to the Spanish 
government, and the moment was critical to the United 
States, as I then held the command of the troops on the 
western waters, and, my enemies say, the intrigues of 
the Baron de Carondelet were then in operation : — Why 
did Mr. Clark wait, until these intrigues were abandoned, 
before he made his last important discovery? He was 
waiting events, and had not matured his treacherous 
plans. We shall see, in the sequel, how Mr. Clark's me- 
morable affidavit in 1808, before referred to, corresponds 
with his plottings with Power and Ellicott in 1797-8. In 
the mean time, permit me, Mr. President, to devote a 
moment's attention to Mr. Ellicott himself. 

Tlie motive of Mr. Power's visit to me at Detroit, in 
1797, will hereafter be explained to the court, by origi- 
nal documents, which are irrefutable; but when Mr. El- 
licott was put on his oath, and interrogated respecting 
this visit, he sweats, " THAT POWER WAS NOT 
APPRISED, THAT HE (ELLICOTT) KNEW OF 
HIS (POWER'S) MISSION TO KENTUCKY, OR 
THAT HE WAS TO SEE GENERAL WILKIN- 
SON ;" and yet / did receive from hurif by the hand of 
rower, on fJiis verv visit, the letter, of wiiich I now pre- 




168 MEMOIRS BY 

sent a literal copy to the court, the original liaving been 
acknowledged by Mr. Ellicott, before the committee of 
Congress, of whicli Mr. Bacon was chairman, and is re- 
corded in the TIdrd Report, ipage 23, in the following 
words. 

Bllicott's i* JVatchez, Jniie Uh, 17 97. 

extraor- -r-^ r. • 

dinaiy '' Dcar Sir, 

letter to n xiiis will be handed to you by Mr. Power, who can 
Wilkin- give a particular account of the delays and impediments, 
son, dated Jcvised by the officers of the government of Louisiana* 
1797. ' to prevent the late treaty between his Catholic Majesty 
and the United States, going into effect. 

" Can you find in the American army an officer of so- 
briety, talents and industry, to command at this impor- 
tant post? I know you are well aware that the charactei 
of our army, will greatly depend upon the good conduct 
of the commandants of posts. Be pleased to present ni} 
best respects to Mrs. Wilkinson, and believe me to be. 
with esteem, 

«' Your friend and humble servant, 

« ANDREW ELLICOTT. 
« General James Wilkinson.** 

Is this the language which a faithful public agent, 
would apply to one, whom he suspected to be a traitor? 
No ! it is the language of confidence; and, so far from 
appearing to be jealous of Power, he refers me to him for 
information, against his (Power's) own government; nor 
is it credible, tliat he should have forgotten this communi- 
cation; but having written one thing to the executive, 
and another to myself, lie determined to trust to the de- 
struction of his letter to me, and denied the facts ; and 
what renders the conduct of Ellicott still more infamous, 
this letter to me, by Power, was written, the venj same 
day his communication to the secretary of state was penned^ 
on which I have been remarking, and in which he tells 
the secretary, he had received "PRIVATE INFOR- 
MATION" OF POWER'S INTENDED EXPEDI- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 169 

TION TO KENTUCKY, AND THAT IT WAS chap. 
"HINTED" TO HIM, HE WOULD, IN THE ^ 

FIRST INSTANCE, VISIT ME." Here, then, we ""^^^^^ 
have one palpable and incontrovertible breach of vera- 
city, on oath, deliberately made, for the purpose of corro- 
borating the suspicions, he had in concert with Clark 
and Power, endeavoured to excite against my honour. 
It were well for Mr. Ellicott, if this was tiie only perju- 
ry of his commission I but, to his shame and dishonour, 
he compels me t(j expose several others. Contiect this 
perfidious conduct of ElUcott, with the testimony of 
Power, before this court, and wc are justified in the sus- 
picion of a connivance between them, even at that time; 
for Power swears, again and again, to the precautions he 
took, to elude the emissaries of EUicott, on his route to 
Tennessee and Kentucky ; yet it is evident he had, in his 
pocket, at the xery moment, tliis very letter of introduc- 
tion, f!'om Ellicott to me, of the 5th June, in which I ain 
referred to him (Power) for information : How dark and 
profound have been the machinations of my enemies! 

The second secret communication, Mr. President, made 
by our informer, to the secretary of state. Colon I Pick- 
ering, bears date Natchez, Nov. 14th, 1797, five months 
after the first, and was also furnished him by Daniel 
Clark. If the communication of June, was marked with 
caution, in that of November, Mr. Clark seems to have 
inclined to the other extreme. The silence of the secre- 
tary of state to the first, might have suggested to him, 
the policy of trying the effect, of some stronger stimu- 
lant; but, Mr. Clark, in the fervour of his imagination, 
oversteps the limits of probability, and mingles with his 
poisons their antidote ; yet he tells you, in his affidavit, 
he derived his information from the thorough-going 
Power. 



vol,. II. 



Pickering. 



170 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. 

^' Mk. Ellicott to the Secretary of State. 

[Secret] t^JK'atchez, JVov. 14, 1797. 

« Sir, 

Ellicoti's <« Shortly after the ratification of the late treaty, bc- 

N^^'u^h ^^v®®" ^^^ United States and his Catholic Majesty, was 

1797, to carried to Kentucky, Mr. Murray, an attorney at law in 

the secre- ^j |^ state, proceeded down the river, to visit Governor 
tary of ' » ' 

state, Gayoso and the Baron de Carondelet. A few days after 
pfrkprLp- •^^'** Murray's interview with those gentlemen, Mr. 
Power was despatched up the river, apparently upon a 
trading voyage. He has secreted in a cask of sugar four 
despatches in cypher? one was directed to General 
Wilkin.son, another to John Brown, senator of the 
United States, the third to Judge Sebastian, and the 
fourth to Mr. Lackasang, at the Rapids of the Ohio. 
These four men, and Mr. Murray, receive annual sti- 
pends from the crown of Spain, and several others, whose 
names I have not learnt, receive occasional payments. 
Mr. Power delivered the despatches above mentioned 
himself. He met General Wilkinson at Cincinnati, in 
September last was a year : they affected for some days 
to be upon bad terms, but were privately closeted at night. 
*« This correspondence in cypher, has been carried on 
for several years? it is ingeniously managed? the letters 
are deciphered by the help of a pocket dictionary. 

« The first object of these plotters is, to detach the 
states of Kentucky and Tennessee, from the union, and 
place them under the protection of Spain. If that could 
have been effected this season, the treaty would never 
have been carried into effect: and to ascertain the pro- 
bability of such an event, Mr. Power was sent, in the 
beginning of last June, into the states before mentioned. 
" The design of detaching the western country from the 
union, is but a small part of the general plan, which is 
very extensive, and embraces objects of immense magni- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. I7I 

tude; nevertheless, to ensure success, this point must be chap. 
first carried ; which being effected, and, by the system of ^' 
promotion adopted by the court of Madrid, Governor 
Gayoso will be at Quito, and the Baron de Carondelet 
at Mexic o, about the same time. So soon as this arrange- 
ment takes place, or sooner, if the necessary officers can 
be corrupted, a general insurrection will be attempted, 
and cannot fail of success if the first part succeeds. Ge- 
neral Wilkinson is to proceed from Kentucky with a body 
of troops througfi the country, by the way of the Illinois 
into New Mexico, which will be a central position : the 
route has been already explored. Nine-tenths of the offi- 
cers of the Louisiana regiment are, at this time, corrupt- 
ed ; and the officers of the Mexican regiment, which is 
now in this country, are but little better. The apparent 
zeal of the Spanish officers on the Mississippi, for the 
dignity of the crown, is only intended to cover their de- 
signs, till the great plan, which is the establishment of a 
new empire, is brought to maturity. Their principles are 
highly revolutionary. This being understood, the policy 
of the present Spanish governors in this country, in en- 
ticing our citizens to settle under their jurisdiction, may 
be easily discovered. 

*< From the manner by which I have obtained the fore- 
going information (which I am convinced is correct), I 
am unable to make any other use of it^ than to communi- 
cate it to our first mag strate and the department of 
state, that the plan, so far as it affiects the United States, 
may be counteracted. It must hemain secret. 
<' I am, &c. &c. 
(Signed) « ANDREW ELLICOTT. 

" Secretary of State." 

It is well understood, wherever Mr. Ellicott is known, 
that he is a great admirer of the niarveiloiis, and that his 
explorations of worlds beyond tlie moon, have infected 
him with a strong taste fur the sublime, if not for the 
beautiful. It cannot, then, be considered extraordinary. 



173 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, if we find him gulping the monstrous fictions of Clark. 
The more horrible the plot, the more important is the 
discovery, the more exalted is his discernujcnt, and the 
stronger his claims upon the government. But can any 
man of sober sense, carefully examine this letter, and 
after comparing times, circumstances, means, objects and 
ends, say that it carries with it a ray of probability, or 
that it is not destroyed by its own absurdity ? Yet, should 
the fertile genius of my enemies, he exerted to uphold it, 
by a shadow of consistency, then let me say its fallacies, 
are detected and exposed by notorious facts, and even by 
subsequent events. 

The first paragraph of this piece, is confined to a visit 
of a Mr. Murray, attorney at law in Kentucky, to New 
Orleans, shortly after the ratification of the treaty with 
Spain ; and soon after his arrival there, Mr. Power is 
sent up the Mississippi in the disguise of a trader, but in 
fact to bring letters in cypher to myself, John Brown, se- 
nator of the United States, Judge Sebastian, and Mr. La- 
cassagne : it sets forth, that these four men, and others, 
received stipends from the court of Spain ; that Mr. 
Power delivered tliesc despatclies in person; met Gene- 
ral Wilkinson at Cincinnati, in September, where they 
affected to be on bad terms, but were privately closeted 
at night. Here we have the text, and now for the com- 
mentary. If Power had really been engaged on this 
service, can it he believed, that he, who has sworn, back- 
wards and forwards, to so many falsehoods, would have 
omitted a truth, so very essential to his purpose ? Yet, 
he does not say one word, of this mysterious trip from 
New Orleans ; and how could he, when he tells us, he 
was found by Governor Gayoso, at New Madrid, in Sep- 
tember, 1795; that his first visit to New Orleans, was in 
January, 1796, from whence he sailed for Philadelpliia, in 
March, 1796, and did not reach New Orleans again, until 
January, or February, 1797?* Nor does Power pretend, 

* See First Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Butler chairman, 
p. 79 — 86, and Power's testimony before the court. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. I73 

that he visited me, at Cincinnati, in September, 1796, or chap. 
that he ever affected to be on bad terms with me; fortu- ^' 
nately for the cause of truth, Ellicott had kept no copy 
of his communications, or Power would have been made 
to have told a different tale. Thus then, the falsehood of 
this paragraph is made manifest, and the information it 
contains falls to the ground. 

The informer proceeds to state, « that the objects of the 
jylotterSf is to detach the states of Kentucky and Tennessee 
from the union, and place them under the protection of 
Spain;'' but this object, when compared witli the vast- 
ness of the plan contemplated, would appear as a pigmy 
to a giant ; for the astronomer goes on to tell, « that the 
court of Madrid f had adopted a system of promotion for the 
occasion f which would carry Governor Gayoso to ^uito, and 
the Baron de Carondelet to Mexico, at the same time. When 
the arrangements should take place, or sooner, if' the neces- 
sary officers could be corrupted, a general insurrection woidd 
be attempted, and could not fail of success, if the first part 
succeeded. To General Wilkinson, the important duty was 
assigned^ to lead a body of troops from Kentucky, by the way 
of the Illinois, to J\''ew Mexico, which was to be the central 
position: the route had been explored ; nine-tenths of the offi- 
cers of the Louisiana regiment had been corrupted, and the 
officers of the Mexican regiment, then in Louisiana, were 
little better; the professed aeal of the Spanish officers for the 
dignity of the crown, was a mere sham, intended to cover 
the main design, which was, to establish a jvew em- 
pire. Their principles highly revolutionary, which ex- 
plains the policy of the Spanish governors, in inciting Ame- 
rican citi::jens, to settle under their jurisdiction." 

And shall I be compelled, to analyse this mass of folly 
and incongruity, after all I have done for the country? 
Am I obliged to batter the winds, in defence of my as- 
persed honour? or, shall I give consistency to folly, for 
the triumph of the refutation? Difficult and perplexing, 
indeed, is the task, to give shape or solidity, to such a 
farrago of incoherent nonsense; and much more so, to 
combat and expose senseless declamations, with sound 



174 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, argument. But I am assailed by an hydra of accusa- 

^' tion; the repulsion of one calumny makes way for ano- 

therj slander follows slander, in endless succession; and 

I am doomed to meet, alike, the most frivolous, and the 

most diabolical allegations of my enemies. 

It will strike every person, w lio compares this informa- 
tion of Mr. Clark, to his subsequent accusations, that his 
plan was immatured at the time; and that, in 1808, he 
had forgotten the particulars of his reports to Mr. Elli- 
cott, in 1797. We derive this fact, from Mr. Clark's 
memorable affidavit, submitted to the House of Represen- 
tatives. To excuse himself, for having so long concealed 
my turpitude, he declares on oath, " that in the year 
1797, and for some time ajterwards, he was resident in the 
Spanish terntorieSf subject to the Spanish laws, and with- 
out the expectation of becoming a citixien of the United States; 
his obligations were, then, to conceal and not to communi- 
cate to the United States, the projects, and enterprises, of 
General Wilkinson and the Spanish government J' 

This is a faithful extract, from Mr. Clark's affidavit of 
January 11th, 1808; and, yet, we now discover, from 
these secret communications of Mr. Ellicott, that Mr. 
Clark had violated, his acknowledged obligations to the 
Spanish government, and turned informer, as early as 
June 1797. Here, then, we have a fair specimen of Mr. 
Clark's veracity; falsehood is habitual, and perju- 
ry FAMILIAR TO THIS MAN. 

When I examine, Mr. President, this romantic talc of 
Nov. 14th, 1797, I can scarcely repress the idea, that 
Clark must have intended to sport, with the astronomer's 
credulity ; for suiely the fiction is too barefaced to be 
misconceived. <* The states of Kentucky and Tennessee, to 
he placed under the protection of Spain ;^* and for what ob- 
ject? Why to co-operate in dismembering Spain itsrlf, 
and erecting a new empire, in South America ; and, 
what is still more wonderful, " the court of Madrid, itself, 
is made to adopt, a siistem of promotion conducive to the 
same end.** That is, Spain is made to conspire for her 
own destruction, and actually to copimit political suicide; 



GENERAL WILKINSON. I75 

a general insurrection was to take place, in North and chap. 
South America, at the same time, extending all tlie way, ^' 
from Kentucky to Quito, over hills, mountains, morasses, 
wilds, rivers and deserts, the vast extent of five thousand 
miles 5 and, to give effect to the plan, I was to lead a 
body of troops, from Kentucky to New Mexico, by way 
of the Illinois, through a pathless wilderness, the short 
distance of five hundred leagues; t^ nine-tenths of the offi- 
cers of the regiments of Louisiana, and Mexico, were alrea- 
dy corrupted, and stood ready for the enterprise, with prin- 
ciples highly revolutionary ;'* and this stupendous super- 
structure, was tumbled to the ground, by the failure of 
Mr. Power*s mission to Kentucky, in June 1797, and the 
establishment of the lijie of demarcation, at the 31st de- 
gree of north latitude. 

It is impossible for me, to offer any stronger evidence, 
ef the incredibility of this project, than that which it car- 
ries on its face; other subordinate considerations, may 
however be suggested, to illustrate the falsity of the in- 
formation; 1st. Tlie silence, of Clark and Power, re- 
specting this gigantic enterprise ; these men, like Mr. 
Ellirott, admire the marvellous, and would not have 
missed the occasion, to display their taste for the won- 
derful, if the plan had rested on the shadow of probabi- 
lity ; — much less the basis of truth. 2d. The officers of 
the regiments of Louisiana, and Mexico, have proved 
faithful to their colours. 3d. No symptoms of revolu- 
tion appeared within tlie prescribed limits, before the 
subversion of the Spanish monarchy. 4th. The Baron 
of Carondelet, was ordered to the government of Quito, 
in the winter or spring of 1797, long before Mr. EUi- 
cott made his first discovery to the secretary of state, hut 
did not leave New Orleans, until the autumn following; 
and Gayosovvas at t he same time, ap])ointed to succeed him, 
in the government of Louisiana ; but he did not leave the 
district of Natchez until August. And, 5th. The utter 
impracticability, of any part of the plan. 

From this scene of folly, of falsehood, and treachery, I 
shall proceed to the last point of discussion ; — the inter- 



176 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, cepted letter at Darling's Creek, imputed to Gayoso;— 
^' than which, no device was ever more shallow, — no design 
more wicked, — nor any act more infamous. 

Of all the testimony, my enemies have invented, to rob 
me of my humble reputation, tliis is the most feeble, flim- 
sy, and refutable; I shall prove this notable document to 
be a forgery, by the strongest circumstantial evidence, 
and will employ it to discredit my accusers, and give 
strength to the cause of truth. 

*' No. I. — Received in Mr. Ellicott's letter to the se- 
cretary of state, dated at Darling's Creek, Nov. 8, 1798. 
« In a letter of the 23d ult. from Gov. Gayoso to Mr. 
Thomas Power, in reply to one from Mr. Power, is the 
following expressions as nearly us I can recollect : the 
letter being written in the Spanish language, and I could 
not be permitted to take a copy of it. 
Tbe letter « J wonder you could not see the design of Gen. Wil- 
to Cover- kinson's visit to Mr. Ellicott's and Mr. Minor's camp. 
nor Gayo- j^ ^yj^g ^q f,,jj ypgn some measures to obtain his papers, 

so, pre- *■ i. r ' 

tended to they are all safe, and never will be made use of against 

be inter- j^jj^j ■^^ jjg conducts himself with proprietv. In fact the 
cepted at i i ^ 

Darling's originals are at the court, the copies only are with me. 

Creek. Sebastian and Brown* have both been here, they were 
coldly received; you may inform them that their papers 
will be kept safe and secret and will not be made use of 
to their injury unless their conduct in future should re- 
quire such nuasure. You will endeavour to obtain the 
names of all the subscribers to the great plan, they may 
rest assured that there is no design to injure them, unless 
their future conduct should merit such a return." So far 
the letter. Mr. Power in speaking to Mr. Minor about 
his public account, a few days ago, observed that "if all 
concerned had done their duty, as well as he had done, the 
western politics, would at this time, have been very differ- 
ent, and that the want of success which was not his fault 



• I did not know that this gentleman was in New Orleans before ; 
the other I heard of. A. E 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 477 

should be made an obstacle to his being paid was very CHAP, 
hard." ^• 

Mr. Ellicott, in his report, quotes this letter, as the Ellicott's 
answer of Gayoso, to one Power had written Jiim, i'^^- Igpo"? * 
specting" the motive of my visit, to the camp of the com- and affir- 
niissioners of limits; lie quotes it from memory, and to compareit! 
use his words, <« os nearly as he can recollect,^' says it was 
^i written in the Spanish language, and that he could not be 
permitted to take a coptj of it.'' But it appears, that Mr. 
Ellicott gave the contents, of tliis Spanish letter, in the 
English language; of course he must have been permit- 
ted to translate it, which would require thrice the time, 
jiecessary to make a copy of it, even by a person in the 
liabit of translatitig; but what must be the conclusion, 
when it is understood, that Mr. Ellicott is a stranger 
to the Spanish language,* and in giving the contents 
of the letter, to the secretary of state, he claims no 
assistance, but his own recollection ; of consequence, he 
must have dreamt or been inspired. I cannot, however, 
let off the astronomer, on so plausible a ground ; advert- 
ing to this same letter, Mr. Ellicott observes in his jour- 
nal, page 182-3, when encamped at Darling's Creek? 
« jrhile at that places by a very extraordinary acci- 
dent, a letter from the GovernGr-generat, on its way to a C07i- 
fdential officer in the Spanish service, fell into my hands, 
for a few hours." In his deposition, herein-before refer- 
red to, the same JVIr. Ellicott swears, that "mi the begin- 
ning of JSTovember, 1798, a coufdential letter of Governor 
Gayoso, fell into his hands, and in that letter General Wil- 
kinson and several others are mentioned, as having been in 
ilie pay and interests of Spain;" being cross-examined, be 
answered, " that Governor Gayoso's letter, was addressed 
to Thomas Power, but could not tell, who deliver- 
ed IT to iiim; that the same was intercepted by 
means used by him, but he declined being more particu- 

" Sec Appendix, No. XXXII. 

VOL. ir. z 



178 MEMOIRS BV 

CHAI'. laVf as to those meanSf as his answers might tend to cnmi" 
^" nate himself; and that he presumes the letter, to be in the 



hamls of Thomas Power, or, from the connexion between 
Clark and Power, the latter matj have given it to the for- 
mer.''* Being furtlicr cross-interrogated, the said Elli- 
cott, on his oath, declared, that " he was certain, the let- 
ter was in Gayoso^s hand writing, and that he saw, ^"o 
OTHER LETTER, ttbout the Same time, that Gayoso's fell 
into his hands, which appeared to 6e designed to injure 
General Wixkinson." Wretched man ! to indulge tliy 
vanity as a political Argus, — to exalt thy cliaracter for 
patriot zeal, and to gratify a vindictive spirit, into wliat 
depths of infamy hast thou plunged thj'self ! On the I6tli 
of December, 1798, Mr. Ellicott addi'essed a letter to 
me, in tlie following words, and acknowledged it before 
the Committee of Congress,* of which Mr. Bacon was 
chairman, see page 24. 
Elllcott's I have shewn, that Mr. Ellicott made solemn oath, 

GerTeral* ** THAT HE SAAV BLT ONE* LETTER, about the period the 

Wilkin. 

son, 16th 

Hgc. 1798. * Extract of a letter from Andrew KJlicott to General James Wil- 
kinson, dated Pearl River, Dec. 16, 1798. 

"The remainder of tliis letter is strictly confidential, and dictated 
by the purest principles of friendship. As a preliminary I wish you 
to continue your correspondence with Mr. Power as formerly, and on 
no account give the most distant hint, that you ente.rtain any idea of 
his want of friendship for you; this is necessary for my own safety. I 
have seen a letter of Mr. Pov/er's, in his own hand writing, dated the 
2od ultimo, in which your name is mentioned in a mannei', that asto- 
nished me ; I dare not commit any part of it to paper, but if I should 
ever have the pleasure of another interview with you, I will commu- 
nicate the substance of it under tiie injunction of secresy. If the de- 
sign of it, has been to injure you in my opinion, it has failed in its 
effect, for in the most material point I am confident it is false. Any 
coolness tovvai-ds him on your side, or any observation not in his fa- 
vour, made to any person whatever, might excite suspicions, detri- 
mental to me in our present situation. I shall write to you again from 
Kew Orleans. .My compliments to the gentlemen of the army. 
"I am. Sir, 

** With real esteem your sincere friend. 
"AND'W. ELLICOTT. 
« Ggtteral Jasi Wilkmon" 



GENERAL WILKINSON. I79 

forgery impnted to Gayoso, fell into his hands f which was chap. 
CAXcrxATED TO INJURE ME j" and, if faith could be put ^' 
in Ills affirmation, this surely must be that letter; I could 
not, however, repose confidence in his bare oath, but in 
this instance, it is supported by circumstances, which 
may accredit him; it has been seen, according to his 
journal, *• that the letter imputed to Gayoso, fell into his 
hands, by a very extraordinary accident, when on its 
way, to a confidential officer in the Spanish service, and 
was in his possession a few hoin's;" but in his deposition, 
presented to this court,* he sets forth, " that he does not 
know, who delivered the letter to him; yet, the same was 
intercepted, by means used by himself; that lie believes 
it to be in the hands of Thomas Power, or Daniel Clark, 
and that in the said letter, General Wilkinson is charg- 
ed, with having been in the pay, and interests of Spain.** 
The folly, inconsistency, contradictions, and even perjury 
here exposed, are sufficient to satisfy the unprejudiced, 
that the letter imputed to Gayoso never had existence. 
He does not tell the secretary of state how he came by the 
letter, but says, « it was in the Spanish language^" which he 
did not understand, and yet, lie gives the contents from nie= 
mory, *» as nearly as he can recollect^** as lie « could not be 
PERMITTED, to take a copy of it;" whicli is a fair acknow- 
ledgment, that he received it under stipulation ; but, in 
his book, he tells us, it fell into his hands by acci- 
dent, 071 its route to a confuleniial officer in the Spanish 
sej'vice, and was a few hours in his hands; yet, he could 
not be permitted to take a copy of it: and who was this 
officer ? Thomas Power, the companion of Mr. Ellicott, 
who occupied the same camp with him. Then, when put 
on his oath, we are told, '« it was intercepted by 

THE address of THE ASTRONOMER HIMSELF;'* and 

still, he knows not from whom, he received it, but be- 
lieves, it is now in the hands of Clark, or Power; and 
yet it has neither been produced, nor adverted to, by 
those slanderers, who have prostrated every obligation 

» See Appendix, No, XXVill. 



180 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, of truth and honour, and sworn to an hundred false- 
^' hoods. In this siri.^Ie circumstance, we have satisfactorj 
evidence, that the letter imputed to Gayoso was a forge- 
ry; for no one will suspect Mr. Clark, or liis man Pow- 
er, of withholding testimony injurious to nie, and this 
letter was of too much importance, to the credibility of 
Eilicott, to be suppressed ; yet, in Power's recent, long, 
and wire-drawn examination, before this court, a dead 
silejice has been observed respecting this letter, which, if 
it had existence, could have been so readily produced. 
Still more extraordinary, would the non-production of 
this letter appear, were it, as Eilicott has sworn, in the 
possession of Power, or Clark ; for when we advert to 
Summons the tenor of the suMMoifs, which has produced the 

issued by ATTENDANCE OF PoWER, WHEREIN THE PUBLIC PURSE 

order of 

Mr. Madi- IS OFFERED, FOR COLLECTING OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS, TO 

son,qiiot- CRIMINATE ME, >yE FIND THIS VERY LETTER IS SPECI- 
ed. 

FICALLY CALLED FOR, IN THE LONG SCHEDULE WHICH 

ACCOMPANIES THAT SUMMONS. Butthc astrouomcr un- 
willing to do things by halves, swears this letter charged 
me, with "having been in the pay and interests 
OF Spain; yet no such expressions are to be discovered, 
in the fabrication which he transmitted to the secretary 
of state, from Darling's Creek; and here we again 
iind Mr. Eilicott, outraging the truth ; moreover, the 
letter imputed to Gayoso, was written in the Spanish 
language, which Mr. Eilicott did not understand, but the 
letter which he imputes to Power, might be written in 
Mr. Ellicott's mother tongue, and the two letters, are 
dated on the same day, althougli the month is varied ; all 
these circumstances, favour the belief, that, if, the whole 
was not a fraudulent trick of Eilicott and Clark, they 
have attempted to convert a letter written for the purpose 
by Power, into one from Gayoso to him. The myste- 
rious air and solemn reserve, under which the communi- 
cation, respecting Power, is made by Mr. Eilicott, in 
his letter to me fi'om Pearl River, dated 16th December, 
1798, also strengthens my construction; as does the ma- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 181 

iiifcst terror and alarm, betrayed by the asteoxomee, chap. 

Jest, I should call on Power for an explanation, and thws ^" 

blow up the whole plot, into which he (Ellicott) had been 

seduced by Mr. Clark. 

But, Mr. President and gentlemen of the conrt, this 

letter imputed to Gayoso, carries on its face, inherent 

evidence of fraud. My visit to Mr. Ellicott, was made 

at his own earnest request, in a letter of the 4th Septem- Ellicott to 

ber, 1798, now submitted to the court, in the following ^"^^^^ 

terms : son, 4tii 

Septem- 
ber, 1798, 
<« JBy Governor Sarjeant, I have been informed of your 

expected arrival at J^atchezi; my friendship f independent of 

any other object, tvoidd be a snffi,cient inducement to me, to 

trouble you with a line. I therefore, in the language of a 

friend, most heartily congratulate you, on your coming into 

this territory. I hojfe we shall have the pleasure of your 

company at our camp, I have many things of importance to 

communicate, in confidence, and in xvhich you are not a 

little interested.^^ 

Let it be remarked, that this letter was a voluntary 
'effusion, on the part of the astronomer, lo7ig after he 
had reported me to the secretary of state, on the 5th June, and 
14th JVovember, 1797, and it certainly is not indicative, of 
a want of confidence in me. 

But how could it happen, that Power should write to 
Governor Gayoso, to know the design of my visit to 
Ellicott and Minor's camp ? this very Power, who pre- 
tends to be possessed of every secret of my breast, and 
would, of course, have been the very man, in whom, I 
should have placed my confidence; or how could it have 
come into Govei-nor Gayoso's head, that I should visit 
the camp, of the American commissioners, in the wilder- 
ness, to fall upon the means to obtain my papers from 
him, who professed to be my warm friend ? To whom at 
the camp of Ellicott and Minor, could I have applied on 
the occasion : My acq'iaintance was limited to Mr. E!li 



ISAi MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, eott, Major Minor and Power,* with Mr. Ellicott i ccr- 



V. 



tainly held no conversation on the subject, or lie would 
have connected it with his secret communications from 
Darling's Creek ; nor was the visit to Major Minor ne- 
cessary to the purpose, as I had recently seen him, for 
several days, at Natchez, as I descended the Mississippi ^ 
and, as to Power, his affected application to Gayoso, and 
his silence on the subject before this court, prove that I 
held no communication with him concerning it ; the veil 
is too thin to conceal the imposture, and the absurdity of 
the plot, renders it unworthy a second thought. But why 
make Gayoso, introduce Mr. Sebastian, and Mr. Brown, 
into this letter, neither of whom, was within a thousand 
miles of Power ? why make the Governor utter a palpa- 
ble falsehood, or affect to eeceive "coldly," men 
who were in the '-pay and interests of Spain ? The 
fact is, Mr. Brown, had never visited New Orleans, and 
Mr. Sebastian, was at the time in Kentucky ; why should 
Gayoso require the names of all the subscnbcrs, to the 
«« GRAND plan" of which he was one of the authors, and 
after it had been abandoned ? or why desire Power, to 
endeavour to procure the list, when he was progressing 
east on the line of demarcation, and leaving behind him 
the Mississippi, and all the settlements on its waters ? In 
reviewing this letter, a few more observations occur ta 
me, which I shall offer, and then dismiss the subject. 

If, Mr. President, Power had been apprised, of any 
dishonourable connexion, between myself and the go- 
vernment of Spain, he would not have addressed the Go- 
vernor-general of LouisiaJia, on the subject of my solita- 
vy visit, to the peaceful camp of the commissioners of 
limits; and if such connexion had existed, the Governor- 
general of Louisiana, would scarcely have hazarded a 
communication on the subject, to a man in the wilder- 
ness, and in Power's very humble and subordinate sta- 
tion, of commissary of provisions, to the Spanish escort; 
much less would he, have introduced other characters 
into the same letter, (who were a thousand miles distant) 



1 



GENERAL WILKINSON- iv§3 

without any possible object or end ; why menace the in- CHAP, 
dividuals, who might have been debauched into an illicit pro- v-^-^, 
ject, with the exposition of their papers, when the honour 
and interests of the corrupters, imperiously enjoined, 
profound silence on the transaction ? Power, in his re- 
puted report to Governor Gayoso, in 1797, heretofore 
referred to, makes me say <« that withal ! the 
Governor ought not to be apprehensive, of my 
abusing the confidence he had placed in me," 
which carries with it the implication, that the Spanish 
Governor was in my power. Why speak of the transmit- 
tal of original documents across the Atlantic, contrary 
to the universal and essential rules of office ? Why should 
'lie informer quote the hearsays of another person ? — or, 
T%hy transmit the copy of this wonderful letter at all, 
which insinuates much, but in effect^ says 4iothing? I 
shall endeavour to account for these things. 

One motive of my visit to Mr. Ellicott's camp, was to EUicott's 
satisfy myself respecting the discords, reported to pre- ^^ QgnJ. 
vail between himself and the surveyor, Mr. Thomas rai Wil- 
Freeman, appointed to the commission, by General Wash- counted'^ 
ington ; I had never seen Mr. Freeman, and therefore, I for. 
could not condemn him j but I discovered at once, from 
Mr. Ellicott, that the character and interests of the ser- 
vice, required their separation, and I accordingly advis- 
ed him, to dispense with Mr. Freeman's further atten- 
tions. Having been thus accessary to Mr. Freeman's 
discliarge, when he was in fact less culpable than the 
commissioner; I felt it my duty to provide for him, in 
the best manner I could, and I accordingly employed him 
on the fortification, which had been commenced at Loftu's 
Heights. This conduct, on my part, gave offence to Mr. 
Ellicott, and quickened his dispositions, to enter into Mr. 
Clark's machinations, at Darling's Creek, in w hicii, Pow- 
er, who, was formed for mischief, stood ready to co-ope- 
rate, although, he, at tlie time, professed great attach- 
ment to the United States, and warm devotion to my 
self. 



184 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. I have not, Mr. President, deemed it necessary to ex- 
amine, Tvlr. Ellicott's official letter,* to the secretary of 
state, of the 8th November, 1798, but will trespass a re- 
mark,on the astronomer's report of tbealarm,\vhicli my ar- 
rival at Natchez, had produced on Governor Gayoso, who 
held in bis possession, as Mr. EUicott would bave us be- 
lieve, pledges for my good conduct, tow ards the Spanisfi 
government. If I had been in the Spanisb Governor's 
power, wherefore tbis alarm ? let Mr. Ellicott answer ! 
But it may be asked, why did Ellicott address me the let- 
ter, of the 16th December, from Pearl River, before re- 
ferred to ? I answer ; an habitual hypocrisy, a garrulous 
disposition, a propensity to scandal, and a desire to enhance 
his own importance, with all persons and all parties. 
One more observation, and I bave done with this subject: 
whoever compares Mr. Clark's information, of the 14th 
November, 1797, reported by Mr. Ellicott, in his letter 
of that date, to the secretary of state, with his (Clark's) 
letter to me, of the 7th of September, 1805,f will discern 
a similai' train of ideas, directed to the same object, "A 
NEW EMPIRE iJf THE WEST." Is then the supposition 
chimerical, tbat the same phantoms were floating in bis 
imagination, when Colonel Burr visited New Orleans in 
1805, and that he (Clark) the more readily engaged in Col. 

* Extract from the letter of Andrew Ellicott, to Colonel Pickering^, 
secretary of state, dated, 

"Darling's Creek, Sih A'ovcm. 1798. 

"On Friday the 12th of last month, General Wilkinson arrived at 
our camp, and continued with us till Sunday the 14th. We had much 
conversation on the state and situation of the country; his ideas re- 
specting botli appeared very correct, so far as I was able to deter 
mine. 

" The arrival of General Wilkinson lias created considerable alarm 
in the Spanish colonies below, and Governor Gayoso has directed that 
the militia williin his government be immediately armed. The fears 
and jealousies of the Spanish nation will certainly, in the course of a 
few years, occasion the loss of all ihe country on this side of the Mis 
sissippi, to the crown of Spain." 

■}■ See Appendix, No. XXXII!.— -Third Report of the Committee of 
Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 475. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 185 

Burr's sinister speculations ? The solution, at this time, chap. 
may be unimportant to all but those, who find satisfac- ^^,.^^ 
(ion in tracing effects to their proper causes. 

I come now, gentlemen, to the deposition* of Daniel D. w. 
W. Coxe, the co-partner of Mr. Daniel Clark, for twelve ^^^l)^_ 
or fifteen years past ; I had heard, as in the case of Mr. lion. 
Ellicott, tiiat this person was the depository of dreadful 
information, against me, and it was for this reason, I re- 
quired his deposition, — which, however extraonlinary, 
has not disappointed my expectations. The testimony, 
of this gentleman, offends only by hearsavs, opinions and 
conjectures ; it is more like a vindication of Mr. Clark, 
and an invective against myself, than testimony, deliver- 
ed under the solemnity of an oath. In one instance, the 
deponent's zeal, hurries him into a collision with Mr. 
Ellicott, apparently, with a view to attaint my character, 
and reflect on the administration of Mr. Jefferson, at the 
same time. Mr. Coxe, fi-om his deposition, it seems, 
caught Mr. Ellicott at Lancaster^ in the very act of dis- 
seminaHng his calumnies, respecting the Spanish conspira- 
cy. The moment was auspicious, and remunerated Mr. 
Coxe, doubtless, for his ride from Philadelphia; there he 
acquired, from Mr. Ellicott, much useful information, 
which he committed to writing, viz. 

ii January SOi/i.— Andrew Ellicott informed me this 
evening, that in the month of January 1801, as well as 
I recollect, he communicated personally to Mr. Jefferson, 
the exact sum of money that had been sent by Don Tho- 
mas Portell to General Wilkinson ; that this money was 
not on account of any mcrrantile transactions, bnt of the 
pension allow^ed the Genera! by the Spanish government; 
that Wilkinson was not a man to be trusted, and if he 
continued in employ, would one day or other disgrace 
and involve the government in his schemes." 

* See Appendix, No. XXXIV.— Third Report of the Committee ©f 
Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 146. 
vol. II. A a 



186 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. It will appear, gentlemen, that either Mr. Ellicott or 
^' Mr. Coxe, have been incorrect in this instance j for 
the former, on his oath, has declared, " that no person 
applied to him for information, on the subject before mention- 
ed (JFilkinson*s and Clark^s controvcrsij'), except Mr. Daniel 
W. Coxe of Fhiladelphia, who called on him in the month 
of January last, and told him, the affair between General 
Wilkinson and Clark, was becoming -very serious, and asked 
himifjie was willing to take a trip to Washington; to which 
the witness answered in the negative. He (Coxe') inquired 
rvhere Mr. Isaac Waijne, the son of General Waijne, lodged, 
ami was told. The interview did not last ritTEEN 
MINUTES." And yet it seems, from Mr. Coxe, he was 
able to collect much useful information. But notwith- 
standing, Ellicott was required by the Judge Advocate, 
to state fully, ^vhatever he knew, respecting Genera! 
Wilkinson's criminality, he does not lisp a word of his 
communication to the President, as stated by Mr. Coxe, 
nor does he suggest that he considered the General *' un- 
worthy to be trusted, and if continued in employ, would dis- 
grace and involve the government in his schemes,'" as Mi'. 
Coxe has declared ; on the contrary, Mr. Ellicott so- 
lemnly affirmed, on the 22d of May, 1808, almost five 
months after Mr. Coxe's interview with him, « that as 

FAR AS HE HAD OBSERVED, THE GeNEKAL's CONDVCT 
WAS THAT OF A GOOD CITIZEN OF THE UNION, A SOL- 
DIER, AND A GENTLEMAN." And in opposition to the 
statement of Mr. Coxe, Mi'. Ellicott wrote General AVil- 
kinson, on the 7th of August,* 1800, a few months be 
fore the period fixed by Mr. Coxe, for Ellicott's denun- 
ciation of the General to the President, in the following 
Ellicou's friendly and confidential terms. " I heartily congra- 

letter to tULATE YOU ON YOUR SAFE ARRIVAL AT THE SEAT OF 

General 

Wilkin- GOVERNMENT, AND BEING ONCE MORE AT THE HEAD 

7th' 1800 *^^ ^^^ ARMY. I Iiopc it wUl uot be long, before wc have 

* See Third Report Committee of Congrcssj Mr. Bacon cliairmTiii. 
page 26. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 187 

ihe pleasure of seeing you in this place, (Philadelphia). As chap. 
yet we have no symptom of the fever, and the city is re- ^' 
viarkably healthy for the season. "When we meet, I 

SUAJLL HAVE SEVERAL THINGS TO COMMUNICATE, AND 
A THOUSAND THINGS TO TALK ABOUT." 

Mr. Coxe, as was before mentioned, is the co-partner 
of Mr. Clark; they have been long connected in trade, 
between New Orleans and the United States, and other 
parts; Mr. Coxe makine; the American side of the firm, 
in Philadelphia, and Mr. Clark the Spanish side, in New 
Orleans. The connexion, however injurious to the fair 
trader, was a convenient one; and it is probable, the gen- 
tlemen made the most of it. It is not long, however, since 
tlie whole of Mr. Clark's property, in the Mississippi 
Territory, was mortgaged to Mr. E. Burd, the father- 
in-law of Coxe, for about §72,000 ; and it appears from 
Mv. Clark's letter to Mr. Coxe, of February 6th, 1806, 
a paragraph* of which was suppressed in his deposition, 
that this mortgage was not redeemed at tlmt time. It is, 
therefore, not only Mr. Coxe's duty, but his interest, to 
wake an eifort to relieve his friend, from the gulf into 
which he has precipitated himself; and, accordingly, we 
find his deposition glowing with the ardour of a warm 
partisan. 

But what, after all, does it amount to? Mr. Coxe tells Burr's 
a long story, about a letter from Burr to Clark, left with letter to 
Mr. Charles Biddle, which he (Coxe) supposed related iociark. 
baggage ; that Clark, accompanied by him, called in person 
for the letter, and on receiving it Clark exclaimed, peevish- 
ly too, « Bu7T arid Wilkinson will pester me with their let- 
ters, but I have declined corresponding with Burr.*' And 
Mr. Coxe added, " that no baggage was received by himfor 

* "I have written to Dunbar, to cancel the mortg'age to Mr. Burd, 
thlnkincj we cannot now want it; and that, in case of my death, my 
family may have my private property unincumbered. If you find it 
necessary to give a security, we have immense estates in common, 
and dip or sell them as you may find convenient." The preceding 
paragraph of Clark's letter, was omitted in Coxe's exposition of it. 



18S MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Burr from Mr. Clark." I call the partinilar attention of 
^' the court, to this part of Mr. Coxe*s argument, I can- 
not call it testimony, because it is impressive. The game 
which is here played by the partners, to avert ti»e suspi- 
cions attached to Clark, for his connexion with Burr, ap- 
pears to be overdone; for it is obvious, that the introduc- 
tion of my name, was iiiapplif able to the occasion, unna- 
tural, and indecorous: but Mr. Clark believed, it miglit 
operate by way of diversion in his favour. Cunning and 
treachery frequently overreach theuiselves, and an ex- 
cessive caution is as apt to betray a guilty man, as too 
much confidence. Let us analyse this incident: Mr. 
Coxe knew from Mr. Charles Biddle, that Colonel Bun- 
had left a letter with him for Mr. Clark, which Mr. Coxe 
«< supposed was about his (Burr's) baggage ;" Mr. Clark 
arrives from New Orleans, and the two partners march up 
to Mr. Biddle's, to receive this letter about «< baggage," 
and Mr. Clark, on the reception of what he was so par- 
ticular in seeking, gets angry with a gentleman, merely 
for dropping him a note about his "baggage;" — Nay, 
by some strange concatenation, he higs in General Wil- 
kinson, who was a thousand miles distant. Now, my 
senses deceive me, if there is not a manifest preconcert 
in this scene. Why should two merchants of eminence, 
walk together several squares, or even one square, to 
call for a letter relative to "baggage?" Why not send 
a servant for it? Why Mr. Clai'k*s indecorous exclamation 
made, (as far as relates to me) at the expense of truth ? for 
Mr. Clark's letters, before the court, will prove unequi- 
vocally, that this man pressed iiis communications on me, 
and was continually soliciting my correspondence and 
ad.vice; and not two months, antecedent to this indecent 
exclamation, he addresses ntt in the following language, 
in a letter from New Orleans, of the 2rth Sept. 1806, 
which is bel" re the court: "I know I am enteking 

INTO A THORNY PATH, AND SHALL EXPECT A GREAT 
DEAL or TROUBLE. I WOULD THANK YOU, FOR YOUR AD- 
VICE TO DIRECT me; AND IF YOU WOULD GIVE ME A 



GENERAL ^VILK1NS0N. 189 

IJNE, TO SOME OF YOUR IRIENDS IN CONGRESS, DIS- CHAP. 
POSED TO FAVOUR OR SERVE LOUISIANA, TOU WOULD, ^' 

PERHAPS, AFTERWARDS FIND YOUR ACCOUNT IN IT. 
You MAY DIRECT TO ME, TO THE CARB OF Mr. Da- 
NIEL W. COXE, AT PhIIADELPHIA, UNTIL THE SES- 
SION COMMENCES." — Yet, be it remembered, that Daniel 
"W. Coxe, eight months after the date of this lett( r, from 
the man with whom he had been intimately associated 
many years, deliberately swears, that " Mr. Clark," 
(meaning Daniel Clark,) " always thought illy of the 
General." " shame, where is thy blush!" 

Why does Mr. Coxe confine himself to « supposi- 
tion," respecting the contents of the letter? for, being 
present when his partner received it, if it related merely 
to *< BAGGAGE," it wouUl, after the formality which had 
preceded, necessarily have been submitted to him, and, 
by way of sound precaution, to Mr. Biddle also, I pre- 
sume; for, if the letter had been an innocent one, this 
^^t)uld have been an effectual mode, to silence suspicion j 
Mr. Biddle's disinterested word being of more value, 
than the oaths of the concern. After all, tije artifice, 
cunning, and address of Clark, and of his fiiend Coxe, 
in this transaction, warrant the conclusion, that the let- 
ter would have been deposited with this court, if it could 
have borne the light, or had not contained matter unsafe 
to be made public. 

But Mr. Coxe's deposition, in that part which speaks 
of the Marquis Yrujo, denotes the suspicions which hung 
about the mind of that minister, in consequence of Clark's 
intimacy with Burr, and clearly manifests his jealousy ol 
Clark's visits to Vera Cruz, that « land of promise," 
mentioned to me by Mr. Clark, in his letter of the 14th 
April, 1806, which is before the court. Mr. Clark's ex- 
culpatory letter to his friend Coxe, prepared for the 
Marquis, is too flimsy a veil, to conceal his real standing 
with Burr; it is excessively laboured, and carries with 
it strong a])pearanccs of an attempt, to escape from the 
consequences of a chargf^, which the writer knew to be 
true. An innocent man, on so slight a hint that he was 



190 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, suspected of improper conduct, would have deemed it 
^■, amply sufficient, to deny the imputation j or, if he con- 
sulted ills dignity, he might very properly have treated it 
wrjth silent contempt. [ ask you, gentlemen, to contrast 
this fabrication of Mr. Clark, (prepared and transmitted 
to Ills partner, for the purpose of silencing the Marquis's 
suspicions) with his letter of the 20th July, 1805, to my- 
self; the conversation he held with John Graham esq., 
about the very time this letter for the Marquis was writ- 
ten to Coxe, and his attempt to seduce Lieutenant Mur- 
ray from liis duty: after which, scepticism itself might 
cease-to doubt, and, instead of removing the suspicions 
of the Marquis, this stroke of artifice tended to justify 
tiiem. 

I make no comment, on Mr. Coxe's knowledge of Mr. 
Clark's friendship for me; his letters are before you, and 
if sentiment could be attached to his heart, or truth to his 
word, the conclusion would be inevitable, and Mr. Coxe's 
oath to tlie point a libel. But from recent events, I am 
inclined to close with Mr. Coxe's character of his friend, 
and to believe that every affection of his soul, is centered 
in sordid interest, as the means of indulging a sinister 
ambition; that he can profess without feeling; that he 
can smile and stab; that he is ostentatious without gene- 
rosity, expensive without liberality, and a hypocrite in 
all things. So far Mr. Coxe*s deposition coincides with 
my present opinion. 

That a change to my prejudice, should take place in 
Mr. Clark's mind, about the time of Burr's discomfiture, 
(as Mr. Coxe has stated) is very natural ; bis impera- 
torial visions were dissipated by my conduct, his ven- 
geance was excited by disappointment, and I must bo 
sacrificed, for daring to interpose between him and a 
dukedom. 

Of Mr. Coxe's intimacy with the public despatches of 
the Marquis Yrujo, I can know nothing; nor can I be 
accountable for the opinions, which any public function- 
ary may foi'm of my intentions; but it argues an extra- 
ordinary dogrcc of confidence, when an American mer- 



GENERAL \VlLKlNSOfN. 191 

chant, can be admitted to the perusal, of the official com- chap. 
munications of a Spanisli minister to liis court: in such ^'^• 
case, much may be ascribed to political sympathy, and 
something to the artifice, of such cunning imposters as 
Coxe and Clark. It is probable, that in this instance, 
they have contrived to delude the Marquis, the better to 
mask Burr's real designs, as, it was said by Bollmaa 
and Swartsvout, Burr had previously done. And would 
it be uncharitable, after the correspondence and the inti- 
macy, which Mr. Coxe has claimed with the Marquis, to 
suspect that he might have been Clark's willing instru- 
ment on the occasion ? To the correspondence and the 
signature, which Mr. Coxe ascribes to me, I can only 
say I am a stranger j but I do solemnly declare, I have 
never written to, nor received a letter from, any minister 
or member of the Spanish cabinet. If Mr. Coxe may be 
credited, it is apparent the Marquis has been deceived in 
one instance, and it follows, that he might be cheated 
in others. His letter, as represented by Mr. Coxe., is, 
in its aspect, an unfriendly one to me j and therefore it 
is a fair presumption, that if the writer had possessed the 
power to injure me, he would have employed it. 

The narrative which Mr. Coxe ascribes to Mr. Powder, 
of his interview v» ith me at Richmond, may serve to evince 
the intimacy of those worthies, which I have no disposi- 
tion to interrupt; and I hope I shall be excused, if I pay 
no farther attention, to such scandalous and puerile fic- 
tions, however worthy tlie regard of Mr. Coxe, when 
bearing testimony in the eye of Heaven, against the ho- 
nour of a fellow man. 

To enable the public to form a correct estimate, of the 
adventurous spirit, and the veracity of Mr. Coxe, when 
the interests of his friend and partner are at hazard, it is 
only necessary, to introduce a specific allcgatio]! from his 
deposition, in which Mr. Coxe declares, that he ^^has 
obtained information which he believes may be fully 
itiiLiED o^', tJiat William Lcivis esq. of Fhiladelphia, coun- 
sel for Colonel Burr, possesses fuctSy slalcments and docu- 
ments, which will prove that there existed between Biur 



1<J5J MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, and Wilkinsoiif an agreement and imitual understandings 
^ in relation to the conquests they proposed makhig in the 
wests and tliat they were io co-operate in the accomplish' 
ment of that object.'"^ Tlie best answer to tliis calumny, 
is tlie following extract from the deposition of Mr. 
Lewis. 

Extract from the Deposition of William Lewis esq. 

The depo- " Question 2. — Have you ever held any conversation 
"NVilliam ^^^^'' Daniel W. Coxe, on the subject of any supposed iu- 
Lewis esq. formation, papers or documents, which may be in your 
knowledge or possession, tending to develope the nature 
and extent of the connexion and understanding, which 
had existed between General Wilkinson and Cohinel 
Burr ? if so, please to state the time, circumstances and 
amount of such conversation. 

«< Answer. — I cannot mention the precise time, but T 
suppose it to have been about three years ago, or perhaps 
more, Mr. Daniel W. Coxe, on the one hand, and Mr. 
Thomas Biddle, in behalf of General Wilkinson, on the 
other, spoke to me, in order as I believe, to obtain from 
me what information they could, respecting my know- 
ledge of any supposed connexion and plans of General 
"Wilkinson and Coh)nel Burr; but, as Colonel Burr had 
not taken his trial, and as my knov\le(lgc, whatever it 
w as, had been derived in the way that has been mention- 
ed, I was determined, that neither of them should learn 
any thing from me; and I was, therefore, extremely 
guarded and cautious, in my expressions to them both, 
except that wlien Mr. Coxe, near the close of our short 
conversation, said as nearly as 1 can recollect, in the 
following words: "I believe I can get a gentlemen who 
will prove, or, there is a gentleman who will prove, that 
you are in possession of an agreement signed by Wilkin- 
son and Burr, or an agreement in writing between Wil- 

" See Third Report Commitlee of Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, 
page 154. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 193 

kinson and Burr, to conquer for themselves (whether iie chap. 
said a part of the United States, Mexico, or botii, I do "^ 
not recollect)." I denied it, and declared that I was not 
in the possession of any such paper. On this he said, 
" Well, you must go under a subpoena, and answer on 
oath;'* and here I believe the conversation ended. 

" I solemnly declare, that I neither am, nor ever was, 
in possession of any such paper, or any one like it, and 
that I never heard of such a paper, until it was mention- 
ed to me by Mr. Coxe ; and further, that I never said I 
had been in possession of, or had seen any such paper. I 
feel perfectly sure, that in no conversation which I erer 
held with Daniel W. Coxe, on the subject of any sup- 
posed papers or documents which might be in my pos- 
session, tending to develope the nature of the connexion, 
which might have existed between General Wilkinson 
and Colonel Burr, I ever went further in my statement 
respecting them, than I have now mentioned. 

(Signed) " W. LEWIS." 

" Committee Room of the Uonse of Representatives, 
" Feb. 9th, 1811. 
« Then personally appeared William Lewis, and made 
solemn affirmation, that the answers thus given and sub- 
scribed by him to the foregoing interrogatories, contain a 
just and true relation of facts according to his best know- 
ledge and recollection. 
« Before me, 

" EZ. BACON, Chairman of a Committee 
appointed to enquire into the conduct of 
Brig. Gen. James Wilkinson.'^ 

I cannot dismiss my observations on the willing testi- d. w. 

monv furnislied by Mr. Coxe, without noticing his sweep- Coxe's 

•^ sweeping 

ing affidavit,* concerning the tlocuments and papers pro- affilavit 

duccd by him. He has there undertaken to prove, that analysed. 

* See First Report Committee of Congress, Mr, Butler chairman, 
p. 213. 

vol. U. B b 



194> MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, eighty-two documents and papers, produced by him be- 
^ fore the committee of Congress, ai'e genuine, <• and in the 
hand tenting of the jjersons therein respectively desigiiatcd;'" 
and among them, we find the supposed manuscript of 
Bouligny, Collins, Portell, John Ballingcr, Langlois and 
Bradford, with neither of whom does it appear, or is it 
believed, Mr. Coxe CA'cr had any acquaiiilance, or corres- 
pondence j and whom, it is highly probable, he had never 
seen. In his deposition laid before the court of enquiry, 
he is more circumspect^ and, to give due weight to his 
evidence, he sweai-s to his acquaintance with Carondelct, 
Power, Gayoso and Nolan, and to his own knowledge of the 
hand writing of those Jour persons ; but he does not, in his 
verification of the eighty-two documents referred, pre- 
tend to have seen, either the persons or the writings, oi" 
the men whose names I have noted. Without a know- 
ledge of their hand writing, it is utterly impossible tiiat 
he could know, the papers and documents to be genuine, 
which appear to be certified by them. It is true, Mr. 
Coxe, on his oath, states this proof to be made according 

to the "BEST OF HIS KNOWXEDGE AND JBELIEFj" bul, 

if he intended to escape the imputation of perjury, by this 
saving clause, it cannot avail him : if he had no positive 
knowledge of those hand writings,* if his belief of their 
being genuine, was only from hearsay, or the informa- 
tion of others, it was his duty to have said so: it was also 
his duty, to have told the truth and the whole 
TRUTH, which he had solemnly sworn to do; and, if, his 
knowledge and belief, were produced only by hearsay, 
the common principles of justice and law, would have 
rendered this proof inadmissible against me; and this, 
Mr. Coxe had suflicient understanding to know. But 
by a scandalous and unworthy equivocation, he has so 
worded his deposition, as to give it t\wforni of legal evi- 
dence against me, and, if, arraigned hereafter, as he 
rightly deserves to be, for attesting palpable forgeries to 
be genuine documents, he will shelter himself under the 
salvo, of " the best of his knowledge and belief;'' and it 
will be found, that tliis knowledge and belief, was derived 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ild 

from tlie hearsay, of Daniel Clark or Thomas Power, or CHAP, 
some other source equally depraved. In the eagerness ^^^,_^ 
of the clamourous and diabolical pack, to hunt down and 
destroy my fame, the ordinary harriers of honour and 
conscience, have proved ineffectual : those who had not 
the hardihood to leap over, have crept under, or wormed 
their way through ; and of the last description (equally 
guilty with the fii'st, but still more despicable and mean,) 
Mr. Coxe is a striking example. I would recommend 
also the comparison of Thomas Power's testimony, before 
the court, with the deposition of D. W. Coxe, respecting 
the papers left in Coxe's hands, by Power, published af- 
terwards, by Mr. Coxe, in Relf's Gazette, and handed to 
the House of Representatives, by Mr. John Randolph: it 
will be there seen, with what facility Mr. Coxe can for- 
get or remember, and how convenient his recoUeciion can 
be made,, to aid the purposes of my persecution. 



196 MEMOIRS BY 



CHAPTER VI. 

Colonel John Ballinger^s ex parte affidavit, j-eported by Mr. 
Butler of Congress. — His testimony given before the court. 
— Power*s narrative, deposition and report to Governor 
Gayoso. — General TFilkinson''s first interview -with Tho- 
mas Power. — Correspondence between General Wilkinson 
and Thomas Power, at Cincinnati and Greenville, in 
1795-6. — General Wilkinson- s letter and instructions to 
Power, respecting Robert A^ewnuin. — Power's receipt to 
General Wilkinson, for one hvndred dollars. — General 
Wilkinsmi*s correspondence with Thomas Power at De- 
troit, Sept. 1797. — His letter to the Secretary of War, 
Sept. 6, 1797, inclosing orders to Captain Z. Pike, com- 
manding officer at Fort Massac; and general order, Sep- 
tember 4th, 1797. 

CHAP. I COME now, Sir, to the testimony of Colonel John 

^'^- Ballinger, and must ask leave to be indulged in a few 

^^fT'^^ remarks on his deposition, which is in the following 

Colonel ^ ' "^ 

JohnBal- WOrds:* 
linger's ex 
parte affi- 

davit ex- « Personally appeared before me the undersigned, one 
aniined. ^f ^|jg justices of the peace for the parish of New Or- 
leans, Mr. John Ballinger, now resident in Cape Girar- 
deau, Territory of Louisiana, late a member of tlic Ken- 
tucky legislature, who being duly sv/orn on the Evange- 
lists of Almighty God, did depose and say; That in (he 
fore part of the winter of the year 1789, as well as he re- 
collects, his brother Joseph Ballinger, brouglit two mules 
loaded with money, from New Orleans, to the state of 
Kentucky, for General James Wilkinson; that from the 
fatigue of the journey, and indisposition, his said brother 

* See First Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Cutler chairman, 
p. 10. 



GENERAL. WILKINSON. 197 

was unable to finisli his journey, and got this deponent to CH\P. 
conduct tlie said mules and money to General >yilkinson ^^• 
at Frankfort, where he arrived on the 26th day of De- 
cember, in the year aforesaid : the said money was in 
leather bags, and very heavy loads; and this deponent 
further declares, that the General expressed much satis- 
faction at the receipt of the money, having been under 
some apprehensions, on account of the delay which had 
taken place on the journey ; which said mules and money 
General Wilkinson receipted for; which receipt is among 
this deponent's papers; and further this deponent saith 
not. 

(Signed) « JOHN BALLINGER. 

<• Sworn and subscribed to, at the city of New Orleans, 
tliis 12th day of January, 1809, before 

** SAMUEL W. EARLE, 
« Justice of the PeaceJ' 

It was known that the respectable standing of this wit- 
ness, would give weight to his evidence, and that the 
facts to which he sliould depose would obtain belief; my 
accusers have, therefore, endeavoured to attach great im- 
portance to his testimony. It is, indeed, notorious, that 
it was taken on an ex parte examination, in my absence, 
and without my knowledge; not before a public or im- 
partial tribunal, desirous of ascertaining the truth, but 
at a thousand miles distance from me, in conclave, and 
at the instance of men, seeking to give to the most inno- 
cent actions of my life, the stain and colouring of guilt. 
Yet, notwithstanding these circumstances of distrust and 
suspicion, which, on the ordinary principles of justice, 
would have produced the total rejection of this deposi- 
tion, it was, in May, 1810, received as evidence against 
me, by a conimittce of the House of Representatives in 
Congress assembled, of which the honourable Mr. But- 
ler, of South Carolina, was the chairman, and was sent 
fortli to the world, under the high authority of that pow- 
erful legislative body, as one of the leading testimonials, 
of my treachery and corruption. It is true, the deposi- 



198 MEMOJRS BY 

CHAP, tion mcieiy states, that I had received a large sum of mo- 
^^- ney from JVew Orleans, in ±789; and it was known to 
every one who knew any thing about me, that^ in that year 
and afterwards, I was engaged in large commercial specu- 
lations at JVew Orleans. Tliis fact is explicitly proven 
by the deposition* of Klisha Winter, read in evidence on 
the part of the prosecution, who was privy to the depo- 
sit of money, having been made at New Madrid, on my 
account, and gave the information to General Wayne, 
by whom Lieutenant Steel was despatched, to intercept 
it, together wifh my suspected treasonable correspond- 
ence. Yet, the bare fact of my having received the mo- 
ney, was accepted, by the House of Representatives, as 
cvideiice that I was a Spanish pensioner; and as a proof 
of tlie charge, it has, for more than eighteen montlis, been 
circulating in newspapers, in pamphlets and reports, 
clothed wilh all the weight of legislative sanction, poi- 
soning tlic public mind, and irritating tlie public feeling 
against me. It is in vain now to enquire, how many 
have read this deposition, who will never hear, of Colo- 
nel Ballinger*s additional testimony before this court ; it 
is in vain to enquire, how many have yielded their faith, 
to tiiis species of unexplained proof, who will never hear 
of the vindication I have oifered. The poison has had 
time, to stiike deep into the public mind, and, after al- 
most two years of corroding suspense, I am now permit- 
ted to apply the best remedy I can find : this is a pre- 
cious sample, of the justice I have received, at the hands 
of the representatives of the people: the injury is done; 
it is, perhaps, beyond the reach of redress; — but it is 
useless now to complain of it; I ought rather to rejoice, 
that Colonel Ballinger has lived, to appear before this 
court, and refute by his testimony, the inferences so ini- 
quitously drawn, from his former deposition ; for if, with 
Owen, Nolan, Ga) oso, and Carondelet, the hand of death, 
had placed liim beyond the reach of an earthly tribunal, 

• See Appendix, No. XXXV.— First Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Butler chairma)i, p. 72, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. I99 

his name and his deposition, like the names of the dc- chap. 
ceased, wouhl have been incessantly invoked, to give ^^• 
strength to the calumnies against me. But, after the 
testimony*, he has given before this c«urt, my accusers 
will no longer depend on this proof, to sustain their 
charges ; for he has here sworn, that " he carried the Cobnel 

MONEY INTO FliANKFORT, AS OPENLY AS HE CAME INTO Jin'eS^ 
THIS TOWNJ DELIVERED IT TO ME IN THE PRESENCE testimony 
OF MANY PERSONS, WHOM HE FOUND THERE, SOME OF ^ouTt^ 
WHOM HE KNEW, AND SOME OF WHOM HE DID NOT 
KNOW^ THAT FROM THEIR CONVERSATION, HE FOUND 
THEY KNEW HE AVAS COMING, AND WERE WAITING HIS 
arrival; that they were tobacco planters OF 

Lincoln county, in Kentucky, and were there 
to receive their money, for tobacco which I had 
purchased of them; for the cargo of which, the 
money conveyed by the witness, was only part 

OF THE proceeds; AND THAT SOME DISAPPOINTMENT 
WAS EXPRESSED BY THEM, BECAUSE THE WHOLE 
AMOUNT OF THE SHIPMENT, HAD NOT BEEN FOR- 
WARDED FROM New Orleans, as had been ex- 
pected. 

This is the substance of Colonel Ballinger's testimony 
before the court, and there can be no doubt, that he 
would have given the same statement, when his deposi- 
tion was taken, if thosef who were collecting the infor- 
mation, had asked him the questions, calculated to shew 
the true nature of the transaction. But truth was not 
tli^ir object, and, from the detection in tlds instance, 
some estimate maybe formed, of the fairness of my accu- 
sers, and of the means employed to collect information, 
for the support of their allegations. 

It will not, I am sure, Mr. President, be expected of 
me, to make any reply to the letter:}: from Evan Jones 

• See Appendix, No. yXXVI. 

t The partisans of Mr. Clark took the deposition of Colonel Ballin- 
gcr; ana this is the species of testimony on which D. W. Cose, and 
bis coadjutnis, founded Daniel Clark's /»roo/s. 

t See Appendix, No. XXXVII. 




300 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, to Danirl Clark, as it is a mere stalcnifiiit, in a letter, 
^'" not viTiliod by his oath, even on a priv^ate ex parte exa 
mination ; and if it w ere so verified, and the contents of 
his statements, were worthy of belief, yet the openness 
and fi'ankncss of my conduct, in making the communica- 
tion to Mr. Jones, nnasked for, and of my own free 
will, would take away all suspicion of guilt ; especially, 
when I am found narrating the circumstance, as a matter 
of indiiference, and ordinary occurrence, without sccrcsy 
or mystery ; at a tiine too, when it is well known, and 
has been proved by the accounts exhibited, by Daniel 
Clark himself, tliat I was engaged in extensive, and va- 
luable shipments of Kentucky produce to New Orleans. 
Lieut.Col. Nor can it be necessary to detain you, by remarking 
lesltmonV ^^ ^^^'^^ ^^^ "^ Lieutenant-colonel Fi-ecman's testimony, 
which was offered on this branch of your enquiry ; be- 
cause he barely stated, that all he knew upon the subject, 
was derived from a conversation, with the late Captain 
Thomas Lewis, on their way from Carlisle to Pitts- 
burgli, in November, 1797. 

It will not be expected, that I am under any obligation 
to defend myself, against the hearsay, of a hearsay; 
against the saying of Captain Lewis, of the saying of 
some man to him, who is not named. I admit, gentle- 
men, that I have been grossly calumniated, and I am far 
from supposing it impossible, that some man may have 
calumniated me to Captain Lewis; neither can I des' end 
to answer tlie opinion, Captain Lewis may have formed, 
or may have been understood to intimate, by repeating 
such a story to Colonel Freeinan. I am not responsible 
for the idle, or absurd opinions of any man ; I am to be 
ti'icd by facts ; and least of all am I to be responsible, for 
the opinions of men, w!io had arrayed themselves against 
me, with the most decided hostility, in which number 
Captain Lewis was well known. But I presume, an 
aigument was intended, to be deduced from the fact, tlmt, 
although these charges were known to me, so long ago, 
as 1797, I had suffered them to remain unnoticed, and 



GENERAL AVILKINSOJJ'. 301 

inipunislied, because I was afraid to awaken enquiry ; chap. 
I shall always deem myself fortunate, Mr. President, '^*- 
when a fair examination is made into my conduct ; and 
the evidence produced, in this instance, has afforded me 
an opportunity of shewing, that a portion of the slanders, 
on wiiich tliis prosecution has been raised, was circulated 
more than fourteen years ago ; and that as soon as it 
reached my knowledge,* I made the communication to 
the President, and sought for relief. 

It must be observed, tJiat this letter to President 
Adams, was written less than four months after the time, 
when Thomas Power, would have you believe he was in- 
triguing w ith me at Detroit, and holding conferences with 
me as a pensioner of Spain. Is it credible, that I should 
have thus eagerly sought an enquiry, and thus boldly 
defied investigation, when my hand was yet warm from 
the touch of corruption, and my heart conscious of its 
guilt ? Let the answer of one of the firmest pati'iots and 
most independent men, our country has given birth to, — 
let the answer of John Adams, of February 4th, 1798, 
speak for me. 

Here I close my observations, on the testimony of 
Lieutenant-colonel Constant Freeman,f who was brought 
forward, first, as one of my judges, contrary to my remon- 
strance, and afterwards, as a most important witness, in 
favour of the prosecution. 

It appears, gentlemen, from the tenor of my letter to 
Mr. Adams and his reply, written at the close of the 
year 1797, and the beginning of 1798, that I had even 
before that period, courted a formal enquiry into my 
conduct; especially, with regard to my alleged con- 
nexion, with the Spanish government; but the scandal- 
ous rumours on that subject, had made no impression 
upon the minds, either of General Washington, or Presi- 

* See Appendix, No. XXXVITI. 

T The Colonel was appointed a member of the court, by orJer of 
Mr. Secretary Ewstis, notwithstanding my objection, and when found 
on the court being- challenged by me, he acknowlcdg-c^d his preju' 
dices, and retired. 

vox. n. c ( 



30S MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, (lent Adams ; — and the secretary of war, Mr. M'Henry, 
^^ in the winter 1796-7, bad <> advised vjie, as a friend, to 
gire myself no more trouble about it,''' although General 
Washington, wiis, at the time, in pussession of Elisha 
Winter's information to General Wayne, respecting- the 
S 9000 received by Philip Nolan, for me, from Gilhert 
Leonard, and forwarded by tlie Mississippi. 

It would, perhaps, have been fortunate for me, if the 
honourable and unabated confidence, which the govern- 
ment reposed in my integrity, had not prevented an in- 
vestigation at that time; — when every transaction was 
recent, to which suspicion is now attached ; there would 
then have beeji no difficulty, in exploring tiie origin and 
grounds, of these scandalous charges ; a ready and com- 
plete explanation, would liavc been given, to every cir- 
cumstance upon which the fictions, of a vile imposter. 
have since been reared; and you, and I, gentlemen, would 
have been now spared the trouble, of a minute inspection 
into those abominable libels, which Daniel Clark and 
Thomas Power have given to the world, in the form oi' 
narratives and depositions. 

In regard to the receipt of the money, which Power 
has sworn, he delivered to me, it has been already dis- 
cussed, and will be satisfactorily accounted for; but it is 
necessary that I should in this place, briefly examine 
certain parts of the history, he has given us, of his 
three several missions to the wcstei-n counti-y, so far as 
they relate to to myself. 
Power's Whether any of the secret documents, and despatches, 
deposition \yy ^yhich Mr. Power, attempts to supjjort his narrative. 
tivesofhis werc really written at the period they bear date? — Whe- 
commis- ^],gp there was any foundation, in truth, for the represen- 
1795-'6 & 7 tations contained in them, of the conduct and views ol 
under the other persons ? — W iiether the whole w as aot a roma)icr 
Gayoso of Power's bi-ain, to enhance his omii importance, and 
andCa- recommend himself to his emplovers? — Or, whetlicr all 

ronuclct * 

particii-' those pi'pcrs, be not, an odious and subtle forgery, of a 

larlyexa- ^^q^q recent date? it is j.ot necessary for me to coniec- 
mined. *' , 

turc; but, if, they were originally genuine, I think there 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 203 

is internal evidence, in the papers themselves, that seve- chap. 
ral passages have been interpolated, in order to introduce ^ '' 
my name, among the number of the su"pposed intriguers 
and conspirators, and to give a plausible colour of con- 
sistency, to other parts of his testimony. 

In his narrative and deposition,* he gives an account 
of his first mission, and interview with me, at Cincinnati, 
in October and November, 1795,' and of his second inter- 
view, at Greenville, in May or June, 1796. 

The account of his third mission, and interview with 
me, at Detroit, in August, 1797, is contained in his pre- 
tended report to Governor Gayoso.f 

With respect to the objects of bis visit to me, at Cin- 
cinnati, that you may understand the real circumstances, 
upon which his fabrication is founded, it may not be im- 
proper to premise, that when Power called on me at Fort 
Washington, (Cincinnati) it was the second time I had 
ever seen him : having once before, accidentally met him General 
at Galliopolis, in tlie year 1793, as I was ascending the Wilkin- 

son s first 

Ohio, accompanied by Colonel Cushing, the late Richard acquaint- 

Graham esq. of Dumfries, and others. ^^^^ ^^'^^ 

^ Thomas 

He appeared to be a man of travel and information ; Power. 

his convei'sation was interesting, and lie represented 
liiuisclf, r,s engaged in collecting materials, for the pur- 
pose of forming a natural history of the counti-y; and 
when he visited me at Cincinnati, he represented that he 
was in quest of money due to him, some where up the 
river : I, of coiase, treated him with the attention due to 
a stranger, of liberal education and polished manners. 

In iiis deposition, referred to, he states « that he reach- 
ed Cincinnati, the 3d of October, and proceeded from 
thence up the Ohio, as far as Galliopolis, in obedience to 
my orders, which lie had been instructed by Gayoso im- 
plicitly to follow;" but he has not mentioned the motives 
of this voyage, of two or three liundred miles, nor has he 

• See First Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Butler chairman, 
p. 79. 

t Ibid, page 130. 



^4> MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, informed us, what object was attained by it. He recol 
^'" lects returning again to Cincinnati « on the 8th of No- 
vember, and leaving that place on the 14th, 7vith Wilkin- 
soii's anawer, having occasionally dined with the Generalf 
and having had several nocturnal conferences with /mji, iri 
Fort Washington.** 

It does not appear, from liis depositions, what was the 
precise date of the letter, which lie says was written by 
me, at that time, in answer to Gayoso ; but, on his exa- 
mination before the court, he thinks it must have been 
written, in October, 1795. 

In his printed deposition, before referred to, lie had 
stated, that *< in my letter in cypher to Gayoso, I referred 
him (Gayoso) to what he (Power) should verbally commu- 
nicate." Now it is evident, from Power's own shewing, 
if he is to be deemed worthy of credit, even when speak- 
ing against himself, that this letter was the one alluded 
to, as the answer he pretends to have received from me, 
for Gayoso, on his first visit to me at Cincinnatti, in 
1795; indeed it appears, to have been the only occasion on 
which, according to his own statement, he was employed 
by Gayoso, while the Baron de Carondelet remained in 
Louisiana, from whom, it seems, he received orders, as 
late as the 4th of June, 1797; and of consequence, being 
the only occasion on which, he bore a letter from Gayo- 
so to me, he must have intended, to describe the letter of 
22d Sept. 1796, as the answer. But when brougiit be- 
fore this court, he endeavours to explain, the date of the 
letter alluded to in his deposition, and to secure himself 
from a palpable contradiction, he makes me write two 
letters to Governor Gayoso, the one in 1795, and the 
other in 1796, but as it was notorious, he arrived. at Cin- 
cinnati, in October of the first year, it became necessary 
for him to adopt anotherjyear, for the date of his forgery. 
He, tlierefore, testifies that this fiction, was dated Sep- 
tember 22, 1796; at which time, it was equally noto- 
rious, lie was in Kentuckj^ ; but here again liis ciuming 
fails him, if we may credit his information, to the Baron 
de Carondelet, and Governor Gayoso, ti'ansmitted from 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 205 

New Madrid, January 3d, 1797. To the first, he writes, chap. 
« I should already have returned to the capital, if I had ^^• 
myself been the hearer, of the letters of * * * *, which I 
have received some days since by Mr. Nolan;" and to 
Gayoso, " I arrived at this place, on the first of last 
month, and have been detained, by a concurrence of un- 
lucky circumstances, **** had ordered me to stay, 
uritil Nolan should arrive with his letters ; Mr. N. did 
aot arrive, before the 17th or 18th of December :'* of course 
it was impassible, I could have written the letter of the 
22d September, 1796, which he imputes to me, and says 
he delive^'ed to Gayoso ; nor is it credible, that having 
an opportunity by my confidential agent Nolan, I should 
have entrusted a letter of importance to Power, a mere 
stranger. But he has told you, gentlemen, that he "ob- 
tained from Gayoso, a certified copy of the pretended let- 
ter, of the 22d of September, 1796, that it might serve 
him at the court of Madrid, as a voucher, of the efficient 
and successful services, he had rendered by his intrigues 
in Kentucky ;" yet he has not visited Madrid, to avail 
himself of this voucher. 

Of the other letter, which he swears was written by 
me, to Gayoso, in October, 1795, he has not undertaken 
to produce a copy, and here it is worthy of remark, that 
it seems extraordinary, when seeking from the Governor, 
some testimonial of his services, to present to the Spanish 
court, that he should not have preferred tiic letter, of Oc- 
tober, 1795, to that of September, 1796 ; or that, at any 
rate, he should not have been equally desirous, to procure 
certified copies of both. 

Considering that it was the first fruit of his intrigues, 
and would have furnished strong evidence, of his zeal and 
address as a. negotiator, it is a natural presumption, that 
tlie letter, of October, 1795, would have been quite as im- 
portant a voucher to him, as that of September, 1796 ; and 
that he would rather have selected the first letter, as a 
document (comparatively speaking) of much greater 
consequence to him, than the other : so it is however ; 
that, he declares, the verbal observations, which he re- 



206 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, presents me, to have directed him, to lay before Gayoso 
^^- and Caroiidclct, were committed to writing, at the time, 
and he aftccts to produce a literal copy of them, so wild, 
romantic, and absurd, as to discredit his assertion, and 
detect the fraud ; But of my letter, addressed to Gayoso, 
transmitted by him at the very same time, he did not 
think it necessary to procure a copy, and he does not say^ 
that he has p^'eserved any ivntten memorandum oj it, — or 
that he recollects any thing of its contents. 

But Mr. Power has entirely for^gotten, to say any 
thing of his own letters, addressed to me at Cincinnati, 
and of the answers I returned him ; the manner of his re- 
ception, and treatment by me, on liis first arrival at Cin- 
cinnati has been stated, but during his absence, on his 
journey up the river, certain rejjorts had reached my 
ears, of the supposed sinister objects of Power's voy- 
age ; and tliat he was considered, by the commanding 
officer of the army, as a spy. 
Corres- Whatever o])inion I formed, as to the justice of those 

beuveen^ suspicions, a becoming respect to my superior officer. 
General rendered it proper, that should Power return to Cinciii- 
and Pow°" "«^ti; instead of the urbanity, with which strangers were 
er, in 1795 usually received by me, my department towards liim, 
cinnati " should be distant and reserved ; He did return on the 
andGreen- gth of November, as he I'cpresents, and perceiving the 
change in my deportment towards him, lie addressed a 
letter to me, on the 10th, in which he complains, '^ of the 
torvous aspect and aiistenty of manner, which accomjmnied 
the reception, he had yesterday met with under my roof." * 
I wish to refer the court to the whole of that letter, as 
well as my answer, on the 11th of November,! explain- 
ing to him the motives, for the change in my manner of 
receiving him, and a second lettcr;f: from him, of Novem- 

* See Appendix, No. XXXIX —Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress Mr. Bacon chairman, page 70. 

f See Appendix, No. XI..— Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 72. 

+ See Appendix, No. XLl.— Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mp. Bacon chairman, page 72. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. g07 

ber the 12th, in which he reprobates and derides, the chap. 
idea of liis being a spy, and by a train of sarcastic re- ^^' 
flections on General Wayne, as the author of that suspi- 
cion, and by the strongest protestations in both letters, 
he strives to remove from my mind, all doubt of the pu- 
rity and innocence of his designs. 

Shall it be said that these letters, in which Power 
complains " of the reserve, not to say contempt^ with 
which I had treated him,*^ were merely prepared as a 
covei', to disguise a secret subsisting intimacy ? Mr. 
Power has not pretended, that this kind of manoeuvre 
was ever resorted to, either upon this or upon any other 
occasion ; although Andrew EUicott informed the secre- 
tary of state, in his secret communication, of November 
14tli, 1797, that " he (Power) met General Wilkinson, at 
Cincinnati, in September last was a year ; they affected 
for some days to be upon bad terms, but were privately 
closeted at night;" — this information of Mr. Ellicott, 
being hearsay, is not otherwise worthy of consideration, 
than as it demonsti'atcs unequivocally, his secret and 
perfidious intercourse with Power, because it was from 
Power alone, he could have understood the circumstances, 
of the treatment he received from me. 

Yet Power, himself, has not had the liardihood, to give 
this turn to tJie correspondence at Cincinnati, and he has 
declined mentioning these letters at all, in any part of his 
voluminous testimony. 

If one part of his statement were correct, it would 
shew, that these letters could not have been intended, as 
a mere veil to conceal his visits to me : because, from his 
own account, it would seem that such concciilment, was 
not deemed necessary. 

If such were the case, that besides <•' having nocturnal 
conferences," he was admitted *« to dine witli me, occa- 
sionally, between the 8tl» of November and the 14th," the 
circumstance could not have escaped public observation, 
at such a place, and, therefore, it would liave been idle, 
and useless, to prepare these letters, as a cloak of mys- 
tery. . 



;e'08 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. The statement, in fact, proves that these letters, were 
^'' not feigned; and as they were sincere, tliey pi .ve that 
his statement is false. They shew, that Power v\ as k»'pt, 
by me, at a respectful distance, when he returned to « <a- 
cinnati ; and the caution and liistriist, tlien inanif stc d 
towards him, would render it utterly impossible, that he 
should be permitted, to hold those "nocturnal confer- 
ences," or should have « occasionally dined with me." 

These letters, and the deposition of Power, are there- 
fore inconsistent, and incomjjatible with each other ; the 
letters prove, that he was not, at that time, received by 
me, in the friendly, hospitable manner, which he de- 
scribes. It cannot be sunnised, that these letters were 
fabricated, to serve the purposes of concealment, or to 
mask our interviews; because, if Power was entertained, 
as a guest at my table, « occasionally," as he swears, the 
letters, could have answered none of the purposes of in- 
trigue or mystery; his favourable reception, within a mi- 
litary post, would have become a matter of notoriety, 
and it would have been in vain for me, to rely on his 
letters, for my exculpation; as they would have been but 
a flimsy disguise, wlien the intimate terms, upon which 
he was admitted to my table, could not fail to be publicly 
known. 

In the same deposition, Power has very briefly related, 
the circumstances of his interview with me at Greenville. 
Having returned from his visit to me at Cincinnati, in 
1795, to New Orleans, he and Sebastian took passage at 
that city, in the brig Gayoso, for Philadelphia, in March 
or April, 1796; and from Philadelphia, they proceeded 
together, by the way of Shippensburgh and Redstone, as 
far as Cincinnati, where they arrived on the 17th or 18th 
of May. Sebastian went on to Louisville, and Power 
remained at Cincinnati, until he obtained my permission 
to visit Greenville. Having waited five or six days at 
Greenville, as he says, to receive my instructions and 
despatches, he again returned to Cincinnati, and pro- 
ceeded, with all possible haste, to New Madrid, to take 
charge of the 9640 dollars. For the details of the re- 



VI. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 209 

mainder of this expedition, he refers to his deposition of chap. 
the same date, whicli has been particularly examined, in 
another part of my defence. At present, I wish to attract 
the attention of the court, to his account of his interview 
with me at Greenville. 

In a very siimmai'y detail, he states, in his deposition, 
that, tavinc^ arrived at Cincinnati, a day or two before, 
" on ^lie i!Otb of May, 179G, he wrote to General Wilkin- 
son, who tlicn had tlie command of the army, owing to 
General Wayne's absence, soliciting permission, to travel 
by the line of forts to Greenville; and to pursue his route 
to the Illinois by PostYincennes;'' which, he afterwards 
adds, was only «•' a device to avoid cnriosity." He has 
annexed a copy of my answer* to his letter, in which I 
cannot perceive that there is anything very criminal, or 
censurable. I shall, however, read it again to tljjk court. 

Althougii there is nothing very treasonable ia tlie let- 
ter here alluded to, it is not difficult to understand, the 
motives of Power, and his prompter Mr. Clark, in their 
manner of introducing it. It was intended to shew the 
readiness, w ith which I received Power's application, for 
permission to visit Greenville, and to infer from it, the 
coi'rupt interest which I felt in seeing him, and my gene- 
ral understanding of his views, as a negotiator of Spanish 
intrigue. My answer is therefore given, without a copy 
of his letter which produced it. The motives and objects 
of his journey (as Power deemed it necessary to explain 
tiiem to me, in asking my permission to visit Greenville) 
are thus carefully left out of view ; and tlie route, which 
he proposed to take, to the Illinois, is glanced at in such 
a manner, as would leave the public to presume, that I, 
at once, understood it to be all a pretext, or, as Power 
expresses it, " a device to avoid public curiosity.'' In 
his deposition he has, therefore, not only omitted to fur- 
nish a copy of his letter of the 20th of May, but he also 
avoids mentioning a syllable of two other letters, which 



* See Appendix, No. XLII.— Third Report Committee of Congress, 
Mr. Bacon chairman, p. 81 

VOL. 11. D d 



VI. 



210 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. lie wrote to nie, upon the same occasion, before he re- 
ceived my answer to the first. These tliree letters afford 
so conipicte, and natural an explanation, of the motives 
and objects, which Power induced me to believe, had in- 
iluenced and directed his application; they manifest so 
clearly the pains, which he thoiiii;ht it necessary to take, 
to satisfy me, that his objects were altogether ini)pcent, 
and that they had been unjustly misrepresented by Gene- 
ral Wayne; they contain sucli expressions of anxiety and 
apprehension, lest those groundless reports, as he terms 
them, had made an impression on my mind; they so en- 
tirely exclude all idea, or probability, of tlie existence of 
any arrangement, or previons intercourse between us, of 
a disguised and treasonable nature, such as he represents 
to have taken place at Cincinnati, in the preceding year ; 
they e\|^nce, with so much earnestness, his solicitude, lest 
his request should not be granted, and the concern, witii 
which Ire at last takes leave of me, under an impression, 
that « disregard, forgctfulness, or doubts on my part, as 
to the nature of his views, liad even deprived him of the 
chance, of receiving any answer from me ;" and they 
abound with such strong, presumptive proofs of my inno- 
cence, and so conclusive a contradiction, by Power, of 
himself, that the court must pardon me, for reading the 
whole of their contents.* 

In introducing these, and other letters of Power, as evi- 
dence in my behalf, I beg it may be remarked, that I dis- 
claim all idea of giving any sanction, at this time, to the 
violent and acrimonious invective, with which he resents 
the treatment he had received from General Wayne. 
When I received his letter of November ]i2th, 1795, Mr. 
Power had left Cincinnati. Far be it from me, gentlemen, 
to disturb the ashes of the dead : I seek not to revive tlie 
recollection of those animosities, which luive been long 
since buried in the grave : I would rather pray that the 
remembrance of those unhappy feuds, which once prc- 

'* See Appendix,No. XLIII.— Third Report Committee of Congress, 
Mr. Bacon chairman, p. 76—80. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 311 

vailed, might be extinguished for ever. I honour mili- CHAP, 
tarj ardour, I revere patriotism, I worship personal va- ^'** .. 
lour; and no officer of his country, possessed those qua- 
lities in a more eminent degree, than the late General 
Wayne — once my intimate friend, but converted into an 
enemy, by the intrigues and artifices of those earwigs, 
who too frequently infest head quarters. But to return 
to these three letters; I would ask, where could have 
been the necessity of Power's writing to me, in the spring 
of 1796, in this style of repeated submissive entreaty, or 
where the necessity of his waiting at Cincinnati, for my 
permission to visit Greenville, if there is any truth in his 
preceding narrative. If he is to be believed, I already 
stood pledged and devoted, to the plans of the conspira- 
cy ; and in tl»e conferences held with him at Fort Wash- 
ington, the preceding summer, I had committed myself 
to his confidence and fidelity, even to a greater extent 
than Gayoso himself. If, therefore, he was again ap- 
proaching me, in the character of a confidential agent of 
the conspiracy, and was moreover bringing to me the 
agreeable tidings, of the transmission of the 9640 dol- 
lars to New Madrid, in part of my pension. Power could 
not have entertained any apprehension, of being an un- 
welcome visitor ; more especially at a time, when the ab- 
sence of General Wayne, by leaving me first in com- 
mand, would have relieved me from all the restraints, 
which prudence might otherwise have dictated. 

The force of contradictory evidence, arising from 
Power's letters, is not to be weakened by an iniiendo, 
that they were devised to elude suspicion. 

Instead of making any such insinuation, to explain 
away the force of these letters. Power himself has not 
noticed them at all, excepting his first letter, of which 
he carefully avoided producing a copy, when his depo- 
sition was prepared : nor has he offered, any explanation 
of tlicm, in his testimony before this court, althougli he 
has no doubt seen, and examined the letters, as produced 
by me, in ISlay last, and published in the third printed 
report of the committee of Congress. 



2 IS MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. It is not assci-tcd, that the letters were ever emplo} c(t 
^^' by me, for any purpose wliatevcr. If not exhibited to the 
public view, or to tiie view of my g'overnment, they could 
have been of no possible service to me, in removing the 
jealousies and suspicion, which might have been excited, 
by Power's .ippcarance at head quarters. 

It docs not appear from his own account, that he pre- 
])arcd his way by any such expedient, when he first visit- 
ed me at Cinciiniati, in October of the preceding year, 
nor in his third visit to me at Detroit, in the summer of 
the following year. 

That these letters, therefore, were written for the pur- 
pose they expressed, and that they were considered by 
me, as disclosing the genuine objects of Power's second 
journey, there is no reason to doubt; and if so, they flatly 
contradict the purport of his deposition. 

But, if it be true, as he alleges, that his proposed 

** journey to the Illinois, was a device to avoid curiosity," 

there is strong ground of presumption, that it was not a 

device for treasonable pui'poses; but that he wished to 

avail himself of the opportunity, to make an arrangement 

and bargain Mith me, for the apprehension of Robert 

Newman, and procuring me the benefit of his testimony. 

General ^^ ^^'^^ known, and had become a subject of general 

Wilkin- conversation, that Newman had been prevailed upon, to 

ter to implicate and accuse several iunoceut persons, and my- 

Power re- self among the number, after his arrest and confinement 

Robert for desertion j and it was known, upon his release with- 

Nevvmuii, yiit tj.j.^i {,j. piijiisliiiK'Dt, that he had descended the Ohio, 

With 111- ' 

terrogaio- to the Missi^asippi, and thence to New Madrid. Power 

nes, and ^^ ,jg ^viHinp-, for a Suitable reward, to employ his s:ood 

Power s ... i •- u 

receipt for oilices in my service, for causing Newman's return to 
§100. Kentucky, or procuiing me Newman's formal deposi- 
tion, on the various points in the memorandums, inclosed 
to Power, in my letter dated Greenville, June 8th, 17 96,* 
to which I would refer the court. 



• See Appendix, No. XLIV. — Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chuinnan, page 8:2 — 84. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 213 

As a reward for tliat service, and in addition to the CHAP, 
unc hundred dollars paid him in hand, it will he seen by 
my letter, that I was willing to add four hundred dollars 
more, or any further sum, not to exceed one thousand 
dollars. In confirmation of this statement, I beg leave 
to submit to the court. Power's accountable receipt. 

'' Received from Brigadier-general James Wilkinson, 
tlie sum of one hundred dollars, for services to be per- 
formed by me, respecting a certain Robert Newman, 
supposed to be in the province of Louisiana. 

(Signed) " THOMAS POWER. 

« Greenville, June Sth, 1796." 

This transaction may perhaps explain to the court, 
the advantage which Power proposed to himself, in vi- 
siting me at Greenville, under the pretext, if it was a 
pretext, of intending to pursue hii> route from thence to 
the Illinois, by Post Vincennes ; and it may, in some 
measure, account for his anxiety to obtain my permis- 
sion for his visit; but the anxiety apparent on my part, 
to obtain Newman's return to Kentucky, where his tes- 
timony might be had, does not argue any consciousness 
of guilt, or any fear in promoting a full disclosure of the 
truth: nor does my employment of Power, for such pur- 
pose, at such a period, indicate a very lively interest, in 
the great impending projects of the conspiracy. It Is 
scarcely probable, that I would have been willing, to di- 
vert Power's attention, for a moment, from the prosecu- 
tion of those projects, to employ him on a subordinate, 
private, service, if I really had that deep stake in the 
conspiracy, which Power now ascribes to me ; and the 
humble office, which Power was thus ready to take upon 
himself, for a few hundred dollars, as a pursuer of the 
runaway Newman, does not well comport with the im- 
portance of liis character, and the value of his time, when 
considered as the special and favoured emissary, and mi- 
nister of those vast political schemes, by which a great 
empire was so speedily to be dismembered. 



214j 



ME3I0IRS BY 



CHAP. The narrative and deposition of Power, respecting his 
first mission, liaving been thus noticed, I now proceed to 
examine his report to Governor Gayoso, dated 5th De- 
cember, 1797,* containing' an account of his third and 
last mission to me, at Detroit, in Aiii^ust, 1797, — and rc- 
fci'ring to the instructions of the Biiron de Carondelet,! 
of the 26th of May of the same year, in obedience to 
AAhich this mission had been undertaken. 

I thii»k, I shall be able to demonstrate, that this report 
as far as it relates to myself, is not authentic 5 and I 
shall draw from it some irresistible inferences, against 
the general credibility of Power's depositions. 

It may be proper to satisfy the court, of what were the 
real purposes of this mission j and I shall endeavour to 
do this ij) few words, without again reading over, all the 
papers relative to tliis point. 

By a reference to the documents, in the third report of 
the committee of congress, from page 93 to 110, inclu- 
sive, it will be found, if conlidence can be i)laced in any 
report from Thomas Power, that the Spanish Governor, 
was labouring to prevent the ireaty, between the United 
States and his Catliolic Majesty, from being carried into 
eflcct, and was devising various impediments and delays, 
to prevent the fortifications at Walnut Hills and Nat- 
chez, from being taken possession of by Captain Guion, 
who, I had detached for that purpose, with 250 men from 
the army under my command. 
l',iuon de This was the object for which Power was sent to me 

Carcinde- ^^^ Detroit, as tlie bearer of a pnlilic despatci»± from the 

let's letter r i t 

to^iene- Baron de Carondelet, dated New Orleans, May 29th, 

1797; to which I returned an answer,'^ by Power, dated 



ral Wil- 
kinson, 
May 2!}lh 



* See Appendix, No. XLY.— First Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Butler chairman, page 79. 

f See Appendi.x, No. XLVI. — First Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Butler chairman, page 108. 

\ See Appendix, No. XLVII. — Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 93. 

§ See Appendix, No. XLY III. — Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 95. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 215 

Detroit, September 4tli, 1797, the receipt of which is ac- chap. 

knowledg'ed in another letter* from Gayoso, as tiie sue- 

ressor of Carondclet, dated- New Orleans, January Stlj, ^-.^^^ ^.^ 

1798. neral WiU 

It will appear from these letters, that the mission upon ansl^cr^ 

which Power had been sent, entirely failed in the attain- Sept. 4th, 

1797 
mcnt of its object, and that I insisted on Captain Guion's cayoso's 

obtaining" possession, of the posts of Walnut Hills and reply, Jan. 
JNTatchez, according to the stipulation of the treaty, in ' ' ' 
opposition to all the pretexts urged by the Spanish go- 
vernor. 

It will further appear, from a letter,! dated Pitts- WUkin- 
burgh, December 10th, 1797, which I addressed to the^p^j^^jj^ 
Governor-general of Louisiana, by Major Freeman, that I Goveinor- 
)iot only insisted upon a faithful compliance with the Louisiana, 
treaty, but I interposed, with prompt and vigorous re- lOth Dec. 
monstrances, against the practices of certain agents of ..oso»s an- 

the Spanish government, or its officers, calculate-d to em- swer, 

March 
broil t!ie peace of the United States, with the Indian na- 30th,i798. 

tions within our limits j and it w ill be also seen, by a 
long letter of apology:}: from Gayoso, dated New Or- 
leans, March the 30th, 1798, that my remonstrances 
produced a happy and decisive effect. 

All these communications, w ith the facts that attended, 
and the consequences which followed them, have been 
omitted in Power's narrative ; because he was well 
aware, that by unfolding the real purport of his visit, and 
by displaying the legitimate, fiiithful, and vigilant con- 
duct, wliich I pursued on that occasion, for the interests 
of my country ; they w ould have afforded, a ready solu- 
tion of every doubtful circumstance, upon which his in- 
vention has always eagerly seLzed, as a foundation for 
some marvellous tale, of plots and conspiracies. 

• See Appendix, No. XLIX. — Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 110. "* 

t See Appendix, No. L. — Third Report Committee of Con- 
f^ress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 93. 

+ See Appendix, No. LI. — Third Repoi;^ Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Baeon chairman, page 103. 



21 G MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. His narrative, therefore, resembles some ol' those pro- 

VI 

(luctions of modern fancy, in whicli tlie events and person- 
ages of real life, arc so conr.ected with scenes and inci- 
dents, created by a sportive imagination, that it is diffi- 
cnlt to tell, what it is Ave are to believe, although every 
part of it, may be calculated to amuse. 

'>Vhen 1 found Power at Detroit, as a messenger from 
the Baron of Carondclet, he brought with him a letter* 
of intioduction to me, from Andrew Ellicolt, dated Nat- 
clicz, June 5th, 1797, which letter, neither Power nor 
Ellicott, have thought it worth while to notice, in any 
of their affidavits. 

In this letter, Mr. Ellicott apprises mc, of t!ie delays 
and impediments, contrived by the Spanish ofticers, for 
preventing the treaty being carried into effect, and refers 

me, " TO THE BEARER, Mr. PoAVER, FOR MORE PARTI- 
CULAR INFORMATION ;'* to that very Power, wlio in a 
letter to the secretary of state, of tlie very same date, he, 
AndrcAV Ellicott, the astronomer, represents as being sent 
by the Baron de Carondclet, to detach the citizens of 
Kentucky from the union ; and the same Ellicott has 
since solemnly affirmed, in the face of Heaven, that 
« Power did not know, that he, Ellicott, was 
APPRISED, OF HIS INTENDED VISIT TO ME ;" and here we 
have another irrefragable proof, of Ellicott's horrible 
profligacy, of the consummate treachery of Power, to- 
wards the government he pretended to serve, and of the 
dark, deep, and nefarious combination, they had entered 
into, in concert with their compeer Daniel Clark. 

In the progress of Power's narrative to Gayoso, hav- 
ing first given an account, of tlic accidents of his jour- 
ney, after his departure upon iiis last mission, in June, 
1797, and the result of his interview and conference with 
Sebastian, at Louisville, he proceeds to state j that it was 
resolved between them, that « he should continue his jour- 
ney to Detroit, where General Wilkinson was, as well to 
deliver the Baron* s letter, as to conceal the object of his mis- 

* See page 168. 



GENERAL M ILKIXSON. %iy 

sion, and to avoid what was plotting against him (Power) CHAP. 
at Louisville^ whose inhabitants were imdinous, at his arri- ^^' 
cat in the country; and were openlii threatening him." 

Aware, that lie was sent to me, us the hearer of a pub- 
lic despatch from tlie Baion of Cpj-oudelet, on national 
biisinoss; and finding it impossible to siipps-css this fact, 
altogether. Power has endeavoured to present it as a se- 
condary object, tlie first being t'nc prosecution, of tiie in- 
ti'igues of the pretended conspiracy. 

He, therefore, mentions the circumstance of his going 
to Detroit, to deliver me tlie Baron's letter, in such a 
manner, that the reader is left to suppose, this was a 
step resolved upon, in consequence of his meeting with 
IVIr. Sebastian at Louisville ; instead of being, as in truth 
it was, the chief object and purpose of his mission. 

The correspondence, between the Spanish Governors 
and myself, already referred to, respecting the possession 
of the posts at Walnut Hills and Natchez, and the affair 
of Captain Guion's detachment, will shew, conclusively, 
the real nature of Power's business, with me at that time; 
but he has endeavoured to pervert it, by the dexterous 
turn of his pen, in the insertion of the two monosyllables, 
*' as well:*' thus, coupling his real errand, which was 
that of delivering a public despatch from tlie Baron of 
Carondelct, witii certain other n-iystei'ious projects. 

But, if, I was so distinguished an accomplice in those 
projects, how could his continuing his journey to De- 
troit, serve to conceal the object of his mission ? which 
induced Mr. Sebastian and himself, to adopt that mea- 
sure. To proceed openly, as he did, on such a journey, 
to an individual so conspicuous as the commander in 
chief of an army, when that individual was so much ex- 
posed to suspicion, does not appear, to have been the 
readiest way, " to conceal the object of his mission ;" if 
there had indeed been any other object, but the official 
avowed one ; nor does it well accord with his extraordi- 
nary account, of the expedient afterwards resorted to by 
me, to send him back under Captain Shaumburgh*s es- 
cort, that he might escape an arrest as a spy. 
VOL. II. K e 



S18 MEMOIRS iJY 

CHAP. He sUitcs in liis nairativo, *' tfiat I recerccd him very 
^^- coolly, and told him that we were both lostf without htiiv^ 
able to derive any advantage from his Journey." Why 1 
should have received him so very coolly, or in what way we 
were both lost, docs not very distinctly a])pcar. The 
offence and the danger, that occasioned all this coolness 
towards him, and alarm ou my paif, are not explained 
by any adequate causes, consistent with the general scope 
of his statement; he alleges, indeed, that I told him, 
**that the executive had given orders, to the Governor of 
the A^orth-w ester n Terntory, to take and send him to Phi- 
ladelphia; that there was no other resource for him to escape^ 
but by permitting himself to be conducted, immediately un- 
der guard to Fort Massac^ and from thence to JVew Madrid.''' 
But could it have failed to occur to Power's penetration, 
that this was a most superficial pretext for me to resoit 
to ? because if there existed such an order for his arrest. 
I should have been bound to assist in executing it; and 
in failure of this duty, should have made myself liable to 
punisimicnt and disgrace. Tiie idea is ludicrous. 
Corres- At one moment, Power seems to consider this escort, 

of Glmh.^-^ as a prudent provision for his safe passport, and to save 
i;il Wil- ns both from being lost. At another moment, he, in hi.'< 
u'i"h T narrative, complains of it to Gayoso, "as an act of vio- 
Power, at Icncc, coutrajiis gentium," without assigning for my con- 
SeVt"iV97. duct, any reasonable apohigy. He refers Gayoso to his 
correspondence with me on tlic subject, but upon this, as 
on other occasions, Power has not furnished a copy of the 
correspondence* itself, to accompany his testimony ; be- 
cause it would at once shew, that the terms upon which 
he was received by me, and the motives of my treatment 
of him, were entirely different, from those he has so insi- 
diously ascribed to me. 

My reasons for sending Power hack, under the protec- 
tion of a suitable escort, will sulliciently appear from the 
answer, I returned by him to the Governor-general, and 



* See Appendix, No. LII.— TUlnl Pvcport Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Cucon chairman, page 85 — 90. 



I 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 219 

^.ve more fully stated, in a letter to the secretary of war, chap. 
to which I shall presently refer. ^^^• 

Power came to me as a public messenger, bringing 
despatches from the Spanish Governor of Louisiana, re- 
lative to the execution, of an important part of the ti-eaty 
of St. Iklcfonso. Tiie business was urgent, and required 
an immediate answer, and to save Power, who was to be 
the bearer of my communication, from a recurrence of the 
same detention and disasters, whicli he complained lie 
had experienced, on his route to me j he was sent off 
under charge of Captain Sliaumburgh, wlio, should pru- 
dence warrant it, was to avail himself of the opportuni- 
ty, to reconnoitre the post at New Madrid. 

I refer the court, to a particular account of the whole General 
transaction, in a letter* addressed to the secretary of ^^''^'^'"- 

son*s let" 

war, Mr. M'Henry, dated Detroit, September 6th, 1797, ter to the 
inclosina: a co]>y of my special order, to Captain Zebulon secretary 

of war. 

Pike, commanding officer at Massac, for the safe conduct Sept. 6th, 
of Power, and to prevent the future intrusion of himself ^f^^ '"' 

I • I 1 closing or- 

or any other person, w ho might be suspected, of sinister ders to 

agency in the western country. Captain z. 

° •' , . , Pike.coni- 

My lettei' also incloses, to the secretary of war, a copy manding 

of my correspondence with Power, consistine: of three "^'^^5,^* 
letters, all bearing date, Detroit, September 5th, 1797. sac. 
This correspondence will shew, the importunity and in- 
treaties of Power, to be peimitted to return back, by the 
route of Cincinnati and Louisville ; — the various pretexts 
of pei'sonal interests, as well as political rights,jwhich he 
assigned for w ishing to take that route ; — his aversion to 
the other route, by Post yinceunes, wliich I had deter- 
mined he should take, for reasons satisfactorily stated ; 
— his invention of new pretences and objection.s, as soon 
as I had obviated his first difficulty, about tlie incapacity 
of his horses ; — and lastly, his claim and appeal to his 
right, as a Spanish subject ; all of whicli, it seems, had 
no other effect upon me, but to confirm my purpose. It 



* See Appendix, No. LIII. — Third Report Committee of Con- 
gres?, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 90—93. 



220 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, is not insinuated, that these letters are a mere contrir 
^^' vance, and such a suggestion is rendered altogether im- 
probable, by the nature of their contents. If Power had 
found it necessary, to remove or chide suspicions, he 
would have been careful so to qualify his letters, as to 
prevent me from being personally suspected, and to clear 
up all doubtful and mysterious appearances, of the exist- 
ence of any secret ccnispiracy or intrigue. Now, tiiis is 
not, in fact, the style of Power's letters; for whether the 
suspicions against him, were well or ill founded, I think. 
t!ie language of his letters, obstinately insisting upon his 
return by apai-ticiilar route; prevaricating as to his rea- 
sons for preferring that route, and endeavouring to de- 
lay his journey, was rather calculated to excite than to 
remove distrust. At the same time, these lettei-s, consi- 
dering the period and the circumstances, under which 
they were written, do afford a genuine and concliisive 
proof, to refute the general imputations of Power, upon 
my conduct, and to shew that it was pure, and indepen- 
dent of all foreign intrigue. 

According to his own statement, Power seems to have 
been quite disappointed, in the sinister objects of his last 
mission. Having been directed, as he pretends, in the 
instructions* of the Baron de Carondelet, t • penetrate 
my dispositions, and those of the army generally, and 
being, as it would seem, disappointed in his hopes of suc- 
cess; he revenges himself, by representing my influence, 
to have become very limited in Kentucky, and seems to 
be in no better humour, with the great body of the offi- 
cers of the army, under my command. 

i'ower has related the result of his conference with me, 
in \Qvy particular terms, by which it appears, that al- 
though I had now detormined, to break off all connexion 
and corresjxnuknre, in cyplier, with the Spanish govern- 
ment; yet, I did not hesitate to give him, this most com- 
forti'ig assui-ance, to carry to the Governor his master,f 
*' that withal the Oovcrnor ought not to be ap^irdiensixe, oj 

* See Appendix, No. XLVI. f ^ee Appendix, No. LIV. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 231 

his (Tf''ilkbison''s) abusing the conjidence, which he (the Go- chap. 
pernor) had placed in him.'* 

Aiuoiij^ tiic iniiny wonderful things in Power's narra- 
tives, this, I think, is not the least singular, that I, wlio 
had been so long a pensioner, and a dependant of Spain, 
holding a Spanish coinniission, in the act of breaking off 
this connexion, should express no fears, of being myself 
dcstro} ed by the government, whose service I was about 
to abandon ; but should undertake to assure a high officer 
of that government, who had been privy to my corrup- 
tion, that "HE need not be apprehensive y that I wonld 
abuse his confidence.'*' I do not supplicate for myself, 
that 7, who had received the wages of iniquity, might 
jiot be destroyed ; but am only anxious, to comfort the 
Governor, who had been instrumental in corrupting me, 
with an assurance that/ would not betray him. 

This answer of mine, however, is not more extraordi- 
nary, than a part of the instructions from Carondelet, 
under which Power affects to have acted. Will the court 
be so obliging, as to turn to the following passage in those 
instructions : 

a *You will endeavour to discover^ xvith your natural 
penetration, the General's dispositions: I doubt that a per- 
son, of his character would prefer, through vanity, the ad- 
vantage of commanding the army of the Mlantic states, to 
that of being the founder, the liberator, the Washington of 
the 7vestern states," 6cc. &c. The court will please 

TO RECOLLECT, THAT THESE INSTRUCTIONS PURPORT 
TO HAVE BEEN WRITTEN, ON THE 26tH OF MaY, 1797, 
It will ALSO BE RECOLLECTED, THAT I AM CHARGED, 
WITH HAVING BEEN A PENSIONER OF SpaIN, FROM THE 
YEAR 1789 TO 1804 INCLUSIVE. It WILL BE FURTHER 
REMEMBERED, THAT PoWER HAS SWORN, THAT I WAS 

A Spanish officer, one of the first and most con- 
spicuous OF THE associates, IN THE PLOT OF A SPA- 
NISH conspiracy ; and that he had, himself, deli- 
vered to my agent, S9000, on account of my pen- 

* See Appendix, No. XLVI. 



C53 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. SIO.V, IV Jl XE, 1*96, ABOIT A TWELVEMOXTH BEFORE 
^^' THE DATE OF CaUOXDELET's INSTRUCTIOXS. 

Cax it xow be necessary for me, GEXTLEMEX, 

TO SHEW THE IXFEREXCES AVHICH THESE FACTS MUST 
IWOLUXTARILY FORCE LTOX EVERY MIND? Is IT POS- 
felBLE, IF 1 HAD BEEN A PENSIONER OF SPAIN, FROM 
THE YEAR ITSD, AND PoWER HIMSELF HAD PAID ME 
S900() IN PART OF MY PENSION, IN JcNE 1796, THAT A 
TAVELVEMONTH AFTEKW ARDS, IN MaY 1797, CaRONDE- 
LKT MOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT NECESSARY, TO IN- 
STRUCT Power, to penetrate into my disposi- 

TIOX^S; AND THAT, AFTER ALL THAT IS SAID TO HAVE 
passed BETWEEN US BEFORE, HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN 
THEN DOUBTFUL, WHETHER I WOULD N^OT PREFER THE 
ADVANTAGE, OF COMMANDIXG THE ARMY, TO THAT 
BRILLIANT AND MAGNIFICENT PART, ALLOTTED ME IN 
THE WESTERX" STATES; IN THE SUCCESSFUL ISSUE OF 
THE CONSPIRACIES, TO WHICH I HAD BEEN^ SO LONG 
PLEDGED AND DEVOTED? AVoULD NOT THE RECEIPT 
OF PART OF" MY PENSIOX', HAVE BEEN THE STRONGEST 
EVIDENCE, OF WHAT MY DISPOSITION'S WERE, INDEPEX- 
tJENTLY OF ALL THOSE COMMUNICATIOXS, WRITTEN 
\ND VERBAL, OF WHICH PoWER HAS GIVEN SO PARTI- 
CULAR A DETAIL? And would not the Baron de 

CaRONDELET, have been perfectly SATISFIED, 
THAT HE HAD THE BEST SECURITY FOR MY FIDELITY 
IN HIS OWN hands: THE WARRANT OF HIGH MILITARY 
COMMISSIOX', WHICH IT WAS IV HIS POWER TO HAVE 
REVOKED, AND THE GRANT OF A LIBERAL PENSIOX', 
WHICH IT WOULD H WE BEEN IN HIS POWER TO WITH- 
JIOLD AT pleasure: 

I will leave it to tlio reflection of your own minds, 
♦gentlemen, to (hvell upon this passage. It is contained, 
in a body of instructions, brought forward to prove my 
guilt, and yet a whole volume of argument could not, I 
think, more effectually demonstrate my innocence: It is, 
indeed, altogether irresistible, especially when connected 
with other parts of t!ic testimony; with the depositions 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^m 

of Governor Folch and Oliver Pollock, to which I refer chap. 
the court generally, as well as to tjic deposition of Gil- ^^• 
belt Leonard. 

From the important official situation, of Mr. Leonard, Gilbert 
under the Spanisli government, which afforded him the j^!°"^ . '^ 
best means of information, upon tlie subject matter oftion. 
these charges, and from the respectable and honourable 
character, he has sustained throtigh life, as lias been 
proved to this court by Colonel Eallinger, I trust tiic 
court will pardon me for incorporating his deposition, 
with my defence, that it may attract all the attention, 
which it so highly merits. 

Deposition of Gilberto Leonard. 

<•' At the instance of A. L. Duncan esq., the counsel 
and friend of General James Wilkinson, and in justice to 
persecuted honour, I, Don Gilberto Leonard, treasurer, 
and acting as contador, in and for the province of West 
Florida, do on the Evangelists of Almighty God, declare 
and depose, that having contracted an intimate and 
friendly acquaintance witli General Wilkinson, on his 
first visit to New Orleans, in the year of our Lord one 
tliousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, and being 
among the \ery few of his acquaintance, who spoke the 
English language, and holding also at that time, the 
office of secretary to the intendancy of the province of 
Louisiana ; I was frequently called upon, as well by Ge- 
neral Wilkinson, as the Governor-general of the pro- 
vince, (Miro) to translate writing, and interpret oral 
communications between the parties ; and possessing the 
confidence of both, I was enabled to discover the full ex- 
tent, of General Wilkinson's plans and views with the 
Spanish government. 

« The principal object of General Wilkinson at that 
time, appeared to be, to open and secure a commercial 
intercourse, between the province of Louisiana and the 
state of Kentucky, where the General then resided. Mu- 
tual benefits and advantages, in a commercial point of 



TZ-h MEMOIRS BY 

CffAT. view, and t!ic best means of preserving good faith, and 
'■ frioi!(lsIii{) between the two countries, formed the basis 
of the (leneral's conjniimiralioiis; and he urged it in ail 
he said or wrote on the subject, with a manly, open, ho- 
nest and patriotic zeal, for the interests of his own coun- 
try. IMany insurmountable difficulties, to the arcom- 
plishmeiit of the General's wishes, presented themselves, 
and the result of his efforts, was a f.rivate or -particular 
license, to trade with the province; limited in time, to 
particular articles of produce, in price and quantity. 
This license was renewed from time to time, until the 
General entered the army of the United States; fi-om 
M'hich period there existed no connexion, miderstanding 
or business between Getieral Wilkinson and the Spanish 
government, other than that of bringing tlieir concerns 
to a close ; which had been permitted to remain open, in 
an unsettled state, (with a very considerable balance in 
favour of the Gencnil) up to the period aforesaid : and of 
this I am permitted to speak most positively, as every 
thing of a commercial nature was obliged to pass through 
my office. 

<^ In my capacity as treasurer, I can speak with equal 
certainty, as it relates to the ai)propriation of public mo- 
nies. In regulating the checks of office, every warrant 
must, by the Spanish laws, designate tlie pai-ticular use, 
to which the money is to be applied; and here I can most 
])nsitively declare, that General Wilkinson never direct- 
ly or indirectly, in his own name, or any of his agents, 
drew one dollar from the treasury department, on any 
other account than his commercial transactions; and 
that I never heard the most remote hint, from any of the 
officers of the government, that General Wilkinson was 
in the pay of the Spanish government, or that he ever re- 
ceived money for corrupt or treasonable purposes; but, 
on the contrary, they all spoke, and I believe thought of 
General AVilkinson, as I did, and as I still do, that he 
vias honestly and zealously attached to the government 
of the United States, and as worthy of the sword he 
wears, as any American living. His standing with al! 



\ I. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 22^ 

the cliaractcrs high in office, must be conclusive to his ciiAP 
patriotism. Can men of honour take a traitor to their 
bosoms? General Wilkinson was beloved and rispccted, 
by the officers of the government, and all who were ho- 
noured with an intimate acquaintance with him. 

(Signed) « GILBERTO LEONARD. 

" Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 27th day of 
August, Anno Domini, 1808. 

(Signed) « Wm. WIKOFF Jux. 

" Judge of the Parish oj Baton Uovge.*^ 

"By Wiuliam C. C. Claiborne, 

<• Governor of the Territory of Orleans, 
"These are to certify, that William Wikoffjun. whose 
name is subscribed to the instrument of writing hereunto 
annexed, is judge in and for the parish of Baton Rouge^ 
and duly qualified and commissioned. 

" Given under my hand and the seal of the Ter- 

" ritory at New Orleans, the 28th day of No- 

« vember, 1808, and in the thirty-third year of 

« the independence of the United States. 

(Signed) « WILLIAM C. C. CLAIBORNE." 

When this deposition was made out, I had not seen 
Mr. Leonard for several years, nor did I know precisely 
where he resided. He was tw^elve hundred miles from 
me, and was a Spanish officer resident within the Spanish 
jurisdiction. His affidavit must, of consequence, have been 
given voluntarily, and without corrupt motives or sinis- 
ter bias; for my life or death, my honour or disgrace, 
could have been a matter of no interest to him. 



VOL. II. F f 



3g6 AIEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
VII. 



CHAPTER VII. 

General Wilkinson'^s education and pursuits. — Death of Ga- 
briel Maupin, and loss of his papers. — Reflections on Da- 
niel Clark^s deposition. — Reference to, and application of, 
an authentic account current, to explain tlie receipt of mo- 
ncij from JVerv Orleans. — Collins's deposition examined, 
and conijmred with General Wilkinson's letter to Adair. 
— Further examination of Daniel Clark's deposition; the 
authenticity of Gilbert Leonardos account current sustain- 
edf by his own and J\*olan''s letters, by Oliver Pollock's 
testimony, and Daniel Clark's account, of June 18th. 
1799. — JVdlan's letters quoted, and his character vindi- 
cated, — Isaac Briggs^s second affirmation analysed, and 
compared with the first, reported to the House of Repre- 
sentatives by Mr. Butler. — General Wilkinson's letters to 
Thomas Power, in 1803. — Sale of Louisiana, to France, 
and occlusion of the commercial deposit at JVew Orleans. 
. — General Wilkinson's conduct on that occasion. — The 
^eal displayed by Power in the service of the United 
States, when acting as a spy on the French and Spa- 
7iiards. — Daniel Clark's extraordinary letter of February 
■26th, 1803. — Power accepts a warrant appointment from 
General Wilkinson. — His extraordinary letter of the 5th 
May, 1803, making reference to the French prefect Laus- 
sat. — General Wilkinson's situation at Fort Mams in 
Feb. 1803. — Motives of his conduct to Power, Clark, and 
the people of Louisiana. — Power gai'bles his correspon- 
dence with General Wilkinson. — Daniel Clark's letter of 
Q9th May, 1803. — Reflections on the deposit at JVeiv Or- 
leans. — J\'\)te to Power, respecting the occlusion of the 
port of JVdw Orleans. — Extract of a letter, June Q4th. 
1805, from General Wilkinson to the Secretary of War. 
■^^Correspondence of General Wilkinson with IVilliam 



GENERAL WILKINSON. aS7 

IMlngs, vice-consul of the United States at JV*ew Or- ^^^^' 
leans. — Conclusion of the examination of the 1st and 2d \,^rv-^^ 
charges. 

1 HAVE now. Sir, gone through the testimony adduced 
against me, and shewn that the witnesses relied on to sup- 
port the prosecution, are utterly unworthy of credit ; and I 
Jjave offered the strongest testimony, that the lapse of time, 
the death of the men immediately connected, in my trans- 
actions with the Spanish government, and the nature of the 
accusation will admit j to prove as distinctly as a negative 
can he proved, that I did not receive any stipend or pen- 
sion from Spain. From fifteen to nineteen years have 
passed away, since these payments are pretended to have 
been made, and at this distance of time, the most invete- 
rate prejudice, could not require of me to shew, the par- 
ticular accounts for which, each specific sum was received 
from New Orleans; especially when the office I have 
filled, the duties I have performed, and the erratic life, 
inseparable from the functions, of the commander of the 
army of the United States, are taken into consideration. 
Besides, I am not by education or habit a merchant, and General 
the strongest evidence of the fact, is the failure of my go^ig '"^u-^ 
mercantile adventures to New Orleans, where I enjoyed cation and 

avoca 
tions. 



greater commercial advantages, than have perhaps fallen ^^°^^ 



to the lot of any man of my country. Mr. President, it 
is well kftown, I was bred to the profession of physick, 
and that I had commenced the practice, in the vicinity 
of this town ; but, on the first call to arms, I abandoned 
every interested pursuit, and joined the standard of our 
country, before Boston, in 1775. It is also well known, 
to every person of my acquaintance, that I am not by 
education, habit or disposition, fitted for a dealer or tra- 
der. My mercantile business was, therefore, committed 
to my clerks and agents. My accounts in Kentucky 
were wound up, by Gabriel Maupin, my last clerk, after 
I had resumed the sword, and joined the army at Fort 
Washington. I had taken leave of trade for ever,* the 
greater part of my books and papers, ceased of course to 




S28 MEMOIRS BY 

be of value to me, and were given to the rats and micu, 
or the waste of time, many years before my present per- 
secutions commenced. Maupin* followed me to the 
army, with those of any consequence : he was killed by 
the Indians, near Fort Hamilton in 1793, while I was 
absent, and in the circumstances of his death, the loss of 
the papers in his possession was involved. It cannot be 
of papers, expected, after this explanation, that I should have pre- 
served the whole accounts of my mercantile, transactions; 
and it is a fact, that the great mass of my papers on this 
subject are destroyed j a circumstance on which Mr. 
Clark doubtless calculated, when in his letter to Power, 
he so ccnfidently anticipated, t'jat my accounts could not 
be produced; and they certainly hoped the destruction 
was total, or they would hardly have ventured, to desig- 
nate by name, the persons by whom they allege the sti- 
pend w as remitted to me . 
Reflec- Daniel Clark, who is the life and soul of this conspi- 

DanLl ^'^•^y Jtgainst my fame, has, in his deposition, delivered 
Ci;Lik'3 to the House of Representatives, undertaken to name 
tiori°uiKi four sevei'al instances, wherein remittances were made, 
reference [^y the Spanish government, from New Orleans, on ac- 

to an itn- ^ _ . ' , i • ■ -r 

portant count of my impwted pension; — by JLacassagne, m 1/93 



account. 



* This young gentleman, descencled from a respectable family in 
Williamsburg, Virginia, joined me in Kentucky, and continued in my 
employ several years; he fjollowed me to the Indian war in 1792, and 
was appointed an assistant quarter-master to the garrison of Fort Ha- 
milton. Returning from a visit to the encampment of a detachment, a 
f&w miles in advance of that post, he was ambuscaded by a scout of 
the enemy, fired on and mortally wounded; being mounted, he kept 
bis seatUfltilhe reached his quarters, where he expired a few hours 
after. I had been absent from the army a few days, and did not re- 
turn for a fortnif;l\t, at which tune, by the changes of the garrison of 
the place, (it being a thoroughfare to the frontier post) and the inat- 
tention of the proper ofhccrs, not only all the effects of the unfortu- 
nate Maupin, but my papers in his possession, were cillier lost or de- 
stroyed. Amiable young man! adorned with all the mild virtues of 
the human heart! yet active, enterprising, constant and courageous ; 
he was cut ofl' in the bud of youth, but fell in the service of his coun- 
try, and as his life was irrepioachable, so his memory will be re- 
spected. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 329 

or 1794— by Owen, in 1794— by Collins, in ITQi— and chap. 
by Power, in 1796; and the subornations of Clark, and ^" 
the perjuries of Langlois and Power, have been employ- 
ed to give strength, and gain belief, to the deposition of 
Mr. Clark. In these depositions, falsehood and truth 
are mingled with so much ingenuity, that it is difficult to 
distinguish where the one begins, or the other ends ; and 
nought but the providential preservation, of some of my 
accounts and letters, relative to my commercial transac- 
tions, could have enabled me fully to elucidate, tlie purity 
of my conduct. The Spanish government had bound it- 
self to purchase my tobacco, as Mr. Clark himself proves 
in his memoir. Money was remitted to me for my ship- 
ments, by various opportunities, and among them, on the 
four occasions stated by Mr. Clark; which was as well 
known to him, as that most of tlie persons, concerned in 
those remittances were dead; he considered the circum- 
stance favourable to his misrepresentations, and he em- 
braced it; but most fortunately for me, the particular 
account* of that period is preserved, and enables me to 
detect and expose, the macliinations of the wretches who 
are combined against me. 

This account appears to have been the last of my 
commercial transactions, the settlement of which was, in 
the first instance, delayed by tlie condemnation of my 
tobacco, which I had supposed was lost. It embraces, as 
the court will perceive, certain commercial transactions, 
from the year 1790 to the 4t!i of January, 1796. It Receipts 
shews, that the §4000 remitted to me by Lacassagne, fpom^^tf. 
was part of the proceeds of the tobacco, and not for a beit Leo- 
pension, and that it was remitted to me by Gilbert Leo- -^^^^ q^, 

nard, in 1792, and not by the Spanish government, in k-ms ac- 
...^ ^1 ■ X cdunted 

1.93 or 1794, as Mr. Clark represents. for^ 

The money entrusted to the unfortunate Owen, is also 

accounted for, and shewn to be part of the proceeds of 

the same tobacco; and so far from being forwarded to 

me by the Spanish government, it was insured on my 

• See page 119 



230 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP, 
VII. 



Collins's 
deposition 
examined, 
and com- 
pared 
with Ge- 
neral Wil- 
kinson's 
letter to 
Adair, 



account : I am regularly charged witli tlie premium on 
the insurance, and credited with the amount insured, of 
which the amiable Owen was robbed. 

I have already referred to the deposition of Collins, 
proving beyond doubt, that the money entrusted to him, 
was not for a pension, but on account of tobacco shipped 
by me to New Orleans; and the money forwarded by him 
in 1794, is also charged to me in the account, of which I 
am now speaking ; with this difference only, that, in this 
account I am charged with ^6,350 remitted by him, and 
he states the sum to liave been S6,333; a difference 
probably arising from the inaccuracy of Mr. Collins's 
recollection, after the lapse of sixteen years. From the 
deposition of Collins, the court have already learned the 
manner, in which this money was employed by him; two 
or three thousand dollars, were invested in the wild spe- 
culation with M<Nair, and the balance was so far sunk, 
in the journey and expenses of Collins, as to leave me 
but Sl,740, out of the whole sum ; for it is to the sum for- 
w^arded by him, I evidently allude in my confidential let- 
ter* to Adair, so maliciously and scandalously contri- 
buted, to increase the mass of slanders against me ; and 
the residue I expected to be within my controul, in six or 
nine months, from the sale of the lands, in which Collins 
had invested the money. In tlie letter to Adair, there is 
again a small difference, as to the sum received for me 
by Collins in Ncav Orleans. At this distance of time, it 
is impossible for me to say how this inaccuracy arose ; 



* Extract of a letter from General Wilkinson to John Adair, dated 
August 7tli, 1795, produced by D. W. Coxe, on behalf of Daniel 
Clark, in support of the prosecution, being the only part of the letter 
bearing upon tlie case. 

" If my very unparalleled crosses and misfortunes, did not uncash 
me* I would be with you in flour; but as 1 have honour, of 6,590 dol- 
lars, received for me in New Oileans, 1740 only have reached my 
hands ; this independent of poor Owen's loss. The whole of this sum 
is not lost, but it is not within my controul, and will not be for six or 
nine months."— First Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Butler 
chairman, p. 19. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 231 

but these small variations in the sum received, do not, in chap. 
any dcj2;ree, impair the strength of the argument derived ^'*' 
from the account 5 because, whatever trifling differences 
are found to exist, in the sum stated by Collins, and 
charged in the account, in the material points there is no 
difference. The account states the remittance to have 
been made in 1794 — and so does Collins in his deposi- 
tion ; the account states the money to be part of the pro- 
ceeds of my tobacco- — and so does Collins ; and Clark's 
testimony, on wiiich this specification is founded, ex- 
pressly states the money to have been paid Collins in 
1794. There is no pretence by any body, that Collins 
ever received, more than one sum of money for me, at 
New Orleans, in that or any other year; and the time 
when lie left New Orleans, the route he took by sea to 
Charleston, then by land to Philadelphia, as described in 
his deposition, would, in the natural course of things, 
have brought him to me at Cincinnati, on the Ohio, a 
short time before the date of my letter to Adair. 

On a careful examination of Clark's deposition, it will Examina- 
be found, he does not swear that he knew, or that any 1^°"°^ 
one told him, the money sent by Lacassagne, or Collins, Clark's 
was on account of a pension, or, even, that it was received ^5P°^^' 
from the Spanish government. The deposition is ob- 
viously penned, with great caution and precision, and, 
while to the cursory reader, he most strongly conveys the 
impressionf that the money sent by Lacassagne and Col- 
lins, was from the Spanish government, and for a pen- 
sion, he carefully avoids saying so. But in the case of 
Owen, he ventures to speak out, and swears that the mo- 
ney sent by him was for my pension, and that of others, 
as he was particularly informed, by the officei's of the 
Spanish government. The reason of this difference, in 
Mr. Clark's testimony, is easily accounted for. Collins 
was alive, and might appear to convict him of falsehood, 
and as Lacassagne had resided in the Indiana Territory, 
it is probable he did not know of his death. He was re- 
gardless of the obligations of conscience, but he was not 
willing to hazard disgrace, and infamous punishment. 



333 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Yet, in the case of poor Owen, it was known that he was 
^'" ■ murdered, and that his crew, who had perpetrated the mur- 
dei', were dispersed ; no one concerned in that expedition, 
could ever appear to give testimony, of its true nature 
and object: and Mr. Clark, therefore, supposed he might 
use the name of Owen, without hazard of detection, and 
hence the confidence, with which he speaks about him. 
It is for tiiis reason, that the remittance of the money by 
him, is selected as the most safe and convenient occasion, 
for misrepresentation and j)erjury, and is pressed with 
more earnestness than the others. Langlois, whose tcs 
timony was procured, in tlie manner I have shew^n, in a 
former pait of my defence, is made to give evidence to 
this point, and Power, who always stantis ready to back, 
by his oath, the wishes of his employer, in his deposi- 
tion, has endeavoured to support tiie oath of his patron. 
But the preservation of this account, has enabled me to 
expose their falsehoods, and to add anoiher proof, to the 
numberless instances of perjury and forgery, in which my 
accusers have already been detected. 

The character and dispositions of Power, enable us, at 
once, to perceive wiiy the remittance by him has been 
selected and insisted on, as the fourth and last occasion, 
in which a pension was paid me. After all that the court 
have seen and heard, of the shocking depravity of this 
man, as the rcmitiancc of S9000 by him, rests on his 
own credibility alone, J might feel perfectly confident, 
that it would not gain belief, and tliat I could, with entire 
safety, pass by it unnoticed. But, gentlemen, 1 disdain 
any defence not f unded in truth, and I should feel humi- 
liated and disgraced, by an acquittal grounded on mis- 
take, or occasioned by any concealment on my part. It 
appears, in tlic account referred to, that I am charged 
with S9000, paid by Gilbert Leonard to my agent Nolan, 
Jan. 4th, 179G. The letter of Mr. Nolan, inclosing me 
this account, is dated Jan. 6th, 1796, and in this letter 
he informs me that, « being occupied with the horses left at 
J\''atcJiex>, he did not mean to hnng me the money himself, 
hit to forward it by the Mississippi, to avoid the dangers of 



Yll. 



\ 

GENERAL WILKINSON. 233 

ihc sea." And it appears by another letter* to me, of chap, 
April 24th, 1797, that the money was remitted, in the 
spring of 1796 ; for he mentions that Gilbert Leonard 
had told him the day before, that I had not acknowledged 
the receipt of the money, he had rcmittid me by him the 
preceding spring. This letter bears the date of the month 
only, but, that it must have been in 1797, is placed be- 
yond question by that part of it, in which he speaks of 
the Governor's not delivering the posts, and of Ellicott 
being at Natchez ; for it was in the spring of 1797, that 
these events took place, as is proved by the correspond- 
ence, between the Baron Carondelet an;! myself on that 
subject, in evidence before the court. And the letter of 
Gilbert Leonard to me, written April 1st, 1797, about 
three weeks before the letter of Nolan, shews it was of 
this same sum of S9000, he had spoken to Nolan, and 
his letter contains the same observation respecting my 
receipt. Nolan having received this money for me, and 
being engaged, as I have already shewn by his letter, 
with a number of unbroken horses from the wilds of the 
Spanish province of Texhas, could not conveniently at- 
tend to its conveyance up the Mississippi, and, in truth, 
although he and Leonard both speak of the money being 
sent by him, it is manifest they mean nothing more, than 
that the money was paid to him in New Orleans, to be 
forwarded to me in the manner he should judge most pro- 
per. It is not pretended that he accompanied the money 

* Extract of a letter from Philip Nolan to General Wilkinson, 
dated New Orleans, 24 April, 1797. 

" The Governor lias had intelligence, that the British intend pass- 
ing through the American territory, to attack the Illinois, and this he 
makes a pretext for not delivering the posts or running the line. 

"Gilbert Leonard has wrote you several letters, and yesterday he 
told me, you had not acknowledged tiie receipt of the money remitted 
by me lo you last spring. I wished to procure you the balance, and to 
remit it, by this conveyance, but the danger of seiz'H'e here, and of 
privateers, is so great, that Gilbert persuaded me from it; he writes 
to you by this opportunity." — Third Report Committee of Congress, 
Mr. Bacon chairman, page 60. 

vol,. II. G g 



S34 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, to New Madrid, for in his letter* to me from Frankfort, 
^"' dated June 10th, 1796, in evidence before this court, he 
P Nolm ni^l^*^^ mention of his 250 liorses, informs me lie had 
noticed, sold part of them at Natchez, and had arrived at Frank- 
miuinev in ^"^^ ^'^'*'' forty-two head, the day before be wrote to mc. 
whirh he Hc, therefore, did not ascend the Mississippi in person, 
coiivv\rd ^^^^ occupied as lie was, with so many wild horses, hc 
from New could not havc brought with safety and convenience, the 
Louisville S9000 received for me, through the wilderness. He, 
for Gene- therefore, forwarded them to New Madrid, by water. 

ral Wil- .1 X 1 • 4. 

kinson. agreeably to his assurance to me. 

When Mr. Nolan was advised of the arrival of this 
money at New Madrid, it became necessary some per- 
son should be employed, to convey it up the Ohio, as his 
horses occupied his whole time, and prevented his ab- 
sence from Kentucky; in this situation he accidentally 
fell in with Power, who, as we havc already seen, left 
Greenville tlie 8th of June, on bis route to the Mississippi, 
in quest of Newmiin, and prevailed on him, to suspend 
lus pursuit of Newman, and proceed to New Madrid for 
the money deposited at that place; warned by the mur- 
der of the ill-fated Owen, Power packed his treasure, in 
casks of sugar and coffee, as well to conceal it from his 
crew, as to protect it against the cupidity, of the hunters 
and other erratics, who, at that time, roamed the solitary 
shores of the Ohio, below Green River,- and delivered 
his charge in safety to Nolan, at Louisville, in Septem- 
ber, 1796, who rewarded him for this service. 

That Power w as thus employed, and conveyed the mo- 
ney in the manner I have described, I was informed by 
]Mr. Nolan at the time, and his truth and integrity has 
escaped the slanderous tongu6 and pen, even, of Andrew 
EUicott. I have therefore felt it due to truth, to make this 
explanation, and so far as relates to his bringing S9000, 
from New Madrid to Louisville, concealed in casks of 
sugar Jind coffee, and delivering them to Nolan, Power's 

* See Appendix, No. L'N'. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 2B^ 

^latcment is I believe correct; the rest of his exhibitions, chap. 
as far as they relate to me, and tend to affect my honour, ^ " 
are perjuries or forgeries ; and Power, who was found 
so ready to testify for Clark, in the case of Owen, who 
is dead, could hardly be expected to resist the tempta- 
tions of his patron, in his own case, when the death of 
Nolan seemed to leave him equally free, from the danger 
of detection. The accounts and letters, to which I have 
referred, have enabled me to develope and explain, the 
true nature of tliis transaction, very contrary, I am sure, 
to the hopes and expectations, of Power and his em- 
ployer. 

If I am asked why, after the search by Lieutenant 
Steel, and the noise it made, I omitted to make the pre- 
sent explanation ? I answer, that feeling deeply the in- 
dignity so unexpectedly offered to me, in the face of the 
world, by my commanding officer, (for the search was 
known to be levelled at me, as is unequivocally proved 
by Elisha Winter, *) I was too proud in conscious 
innocence, to stoop to an explanation with him, and 
waited in silence until he should bring his charges, 
— well knowing that, as the witnesses were then all 
living, I should be able to confound accusation by my 
proofs, and enjoy the triumph. That these were the 
motives of my conduct on that occasion, I have establish- 
ed by the testimony of that highly respectable citizen, 
Major James Morrison of Kentucky. In his deposition. Major 
taken by consent of the Judge Advocate, he refers parti- J^mes 

•^ C3 ' 1 Morri- 

ctilarly, for his answer to the 19th interrogatory, to an son's tes- 
affidavit before given ; which affidavit, thus identified and ^""ony. 
verified, has been read to this court, and is in the follow- 
ing words : 

Extract from the affidavit of IMajor James Morrison, , 
dated Jan. I6th, 1811. <• //i the month of Sept. ±7 96^ pri- 
vate business carried me to Cincinnati, on the Ohio, at that 
lime the residence of General James Wilkinson. Having 
.served with him in the army which captured General Bur- 

* See Appendix, No, XJiXY. 



S36 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, i^oijnef and residing in that part of Kentucky from which 
^''" hey Gcni'iui IVilk nson^ had rcmovedf when he joined the 
arnnf, in 17 9i, it laid the foundation of that familiarity, 
which induced me to call on him whenever I visited Cincin- 
nati, to imij my respects to him, not only as commanding 
officer, but as a gentleman, towards whom I entertained 

friendly sentiments. I liad long known that General IFayne 
and General Wilkinson were on had terms, the latter con- 
sidered himself ill used ; and frequently had mentioned in- 
stances of General TVayne''s conduct towards him, which he 
thought hostile and unjustifiable, 

*i During the conversation which took place at the period 

first mentioned, (1796) the Geiieral adverted particularly to 
the recent attempt that had been made, to seize the money 
which had been brought up the river by Thomas Power. 
He went on to obsei-ve in substance as follows: That it was 
hard, indeed, he could vwt receive money due him, for old 
commercial transactions, without exciting so much enquiry; 
that he had received money on that account, and expected to 
receive more; that had General Wayne called on him, and 
required an explanation of the circumstances, he would 
have given it with much pleasure ; but as he had adopted a 
different course, he woidd now take no pains to satisfy him. 
This conversation did not appear confdential, but rather de- 
signed to obviate any unfavourable impressions, which 
might have been made by General Wayne's proceedings. 
And 1 Juive frequently mentioned its jnirport, and particu- 
larly since his having received money from the Spanish go- 
vernment, has been so much the topic of conversation and 
animadversion. Having been called upon by General 
Wilkinson as above, I feel it my duty to render my testimo- 
ny of a fact, without enquiry into its relevancy or import- 
ance. To preclude misconstruction, I deem it proper to add, 
that having for some years heard many charges against, and 
vindications of the Generates conduct, I know nothing per- 
sonally, so far as I can now judge, which appertains either 
to his accusation or innocence.^* Shortly after the period 
of which I am now speaking, the hand of death put an 



GENERAL WILKINSON. g37 

end to the unfortunate disscntions, between General chap. 
Wayne and myself, and the remembrance of injury died ^"* 
with him. 

There is one item in this account which requires ex- 
planation; that is, the sum of six thousand dollars allow- 
ed to me on account of loss, on the adventure of the Speed- 
well. The fact, gentlemen, is this, the adventure by tliis Adven- 

, , , . , . J /> T\ T-i X ture of the 

boat, was made at the particular instance, ot Uon Ji,ste- speed- 

vaii Miro, Governor of Louisiana, to ascertain the prac- well, the 

first boat 

ticability of a commercial intercourse between New Ur- of trade 
leans and the Ohio, from which he had been led to be- ^^^^ ^^f 

Orleans to 

lieve, great advantages might be derived, as one mean to Kentucky, 
effect his general concession of commerce, to the people ^'^^^• 
of Kentucky. It has been seen that this adventure, was 
an unprosperous one, and on re-visiting New Orleans in 
1789, to the Governor's enquiries on the subject of the 
enterprise ; I replied that it had turned out, an unfortu- 
nate experiment, owing to the misconduct of tlie patroon^ 
and crew; as by their dilatory conduct, the boat had 
been frozen up in the Ohio during the winter; and I 
added, that as the voyage had been undertaken on pub- 
lic principles, I thought I ought to be reimbursed. He 
desired me to state my damages, with the assurance that 
he would have me reimbursed, if in his power; and I 
availed myself of his proposition, to make a liberal state 
ment, to cover losses, expenses, and trouble. I cannot, 
at this time, charge my mind with the precise sum, but I 
was informed, afterwards, that this sum of §6,121, was 
carried to my credit on that account. Of the means cm- 
plo> ed, or the manner adopted to effect this credit, I have 
no knowledge. 

Mr. President, I close my observations on the account observa- 
of Gilbert Leonard, ft was furnished more than fifteen f;^",^,!'" 
years ago, when the present accusations, surely w ere not Leonard's 
foreseen nor suspected ; and yet the account proves, that ^j^^ ^^^' 
every sum I am charged with having received as a pon- preserva- 
sion, was paid me, on a fair and honourable mercantile ^nd other 

papprs. 
' Used by the French and Spaniards for •' pilot." 



238 IMEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, transartion. But it may be enquired why tliis particii- 
^^^' lar account was so carefully preserved ? The answer is 
a simple one. — My commercial business in Kentucky, 
ceased in the year 1791, when I resumed the sword; and 
this account appears to have been made out, by my 
agent Nolan, and Gilbert Leonard in New Orleans, in 
the year 1796 ; a copy of it was transmitted to me by the 
former, and m as preserved, by being thrown among my 
military papers, in the same manner, that my corres- 
pondence with Power, at Cincinnati in 1795, at Green- 
ville in 1796, and at Detroit in 1797, had been saved from 
destruction. 

This account is proved to be in the hand writing of 
Philip Nolan, it was enclosed and referred to in a letter, 
proved, likewise, to be in his hand writing, dated in 
January 1796; in which, he informs me, he incloses a 
copy of the oi'iginal account, and mentions the balance 
due to me ; — and the authenticity of this letter is again 
confirmed, by the letter* of Gilbert Leonard, in 1797, 
referring to the same circumstances mentioned in the 
letter of Nolan. And the motives for secresy, among the 
Spanish officers, in monied transactions, arc disclosed in 
this letter of Mr. Leonard; not from any tenderness to 
me, or on my account, but merely to shield himself from 
punishment, he anxiously and earnestly entreats me to be 
secret: it was of the first importance to him, but it was 
The an- a matter of indifference to me, except on his behalf. On 
^r^J^M,*^'^^ the face of the account which I have presented, and from 

of Gilbert ' 

Leonard's the letter of Nolan, it appears that this account closed 

account, ^j^^ commercial transactions between Governor Miro and 
bustained. 

myself, and these evidences are supported by the deposi- 

tionsf of Oliver Pollock, and Elisha Winter,;]: whidt 
proves my connexion in trade, with that gentleman. In- 
deed, I derive additional proof of the autlienticity of this 
fact, from Mr. Clark himself, for it appeal's in the follow- 



* See Appendix, No. LVI. 

f: See Appendix, No. I. t See Appendix, No. XXXV 



GENERAL AVILKJNSON. 



239 



hig account,* settled with me, in 1799, that he adjusted ciiAP. 
Beauregard's claim against me, to which the letters of ^"' 
Nolan and Leonard both make reference; I strengthen r., u, 

' ~ L. lurk sac 

still more the proofs, of the authenticity of this account, count of 
when I shew, by the testimony of Mr. Pollock, that I had iu^ef ^'' 
a large quantity of tobacco, condemned in 1790, corres- 17^99. 
ponding with the statement in the account. 



Brigadier-general James Wilkinson to Daniel Clark junior. DR. 



1798. 
Nov. 21, 
28, 



T)ec. 



1799. 
.Ian. 11, 
April 11, 
29, 



To sundries forwarded by his order 

To ditto delivered by D. C. jun. at ClarSs- 

ville 
To Cash by Mombrlen 
To one quarter cask Sherry 
To one cask Porter 
To a parcel of Violin Strings 

To Cash by Mr. Hunt 

Paid his order favour Brooks 

Paid Captain Gaion's order favour Captain 

Shaumburgh 
Paid his own draft favour >T. Collins 
Paid favour Whitestone 
Paid Eli Beauregard 

One barrel Paeans and four iron bound Kegs 
Paid Captain Guion's order in favour of En- 
sign Scott 
Paid ditto two orders favour "Wm. Sinnpspa 
Acquittance of Beauregard's claim 
To Cash paid him by Lieutenant Butler 
To ditto paid Major Lovel 
To ditto paid his order Ensign Glen 
To ditto paid Captain Guion's order favour 
Bastin 



Dolls, bits. 


1,800 


5i 


438 




10,000 




64 




30 




7 


5A 


10,000 




600 




580 


4 


1,206 




892 




2,100 




18 




100 




234 


4 


4 


4 


212 




750 




60 





162 4 



Dolls. 29,260 3 



*• Aew Orleans, June 18(h, 1799. 



" Received the amount of the within account in full. New Orleans, 
20th June, 1799. 

" DANIEI- CI.ARK Jc:v. ' 



210 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
VII. 



Daniel 
Clark per 
jured. 



Philip Nolan was killed by the Spaniards, in the pro- 
vince of Texhas, in the year 1800; and as there then 
was no prosecution pending;, or charges made against 
lue, he could have no inducement to fabricate these let- 
ters and accounts, even if any motive could have indu- 
ced, his honourable lieart, to yield to an inip(dse of base- 
ness and falsehood. He has indeed been represented as 
my agent in my imputed treacherous intrigues, with 
the Spanish government, at New Orleans. The grave 
is no security from slander, no protection to the purest 
character. He was indeed my agent; but it was in 
fair commercial transactions : Tliis is abundantly 
proved, by the letters of Nolan from 1791 to 1796 ; and 
even Daniel Clark himself, has furnished proof of this, 
by producing my letter* of May 20th, 1790, to Clark and 
Rees. This letter shews, that Nolan was appointed my 
agent, as early as the year 1790, and accounts for the 
papers, relative to my subsequent transactions, passing; 
through his hands. By furnishing this evidence, Mr. 
Clark HAS convicted himself or another false- 
hood IN his deposition, where he swears, that during 
the period of the remittances by Lacassagne, Owen, Col- 
lins and Power, which took place in 1792, 1794, and 

1796, «HE was the agent of the house who WEIIE 

MY consignees AT New Orleans;*' — because this very 
letter, produced by himself, proves that Nolan was con- 
«tituted my agent in 1790, — from which it follows, that 
the accoimts of Clark and Rees, even if truly stated by 
Mr. Clark, have nothing to do with this enquiry, as their 
agency ceased when N<dan was appointed. Nolan's let- 
ter of April 6lh, 1791, submitted to the court, shews that 
considerable shipments were made by me to New Or- 
leans in that year, .nd placed under his direction; and 
that he was actually purchasing in New Orleans, a con- 
siderable quantity of tobacco, on my account; the agency 
of Clark and Rees having terminated in 1789. 



** See Appendix, No. LVIl. — First Report of Committee of Cpn 
gress, Mr. Butler cliairma^n, page 191-. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. Mi 

The character of Nolan, given by Colonel Bailinger, a CHAP, 
witness on the part of the prosecution, ought to place him 
above the suspicion of corruption, and tiie letters he has 
left behind him, which are in evidence before this court, 
refute and put to shame the calumniators, who are seek- 
ing to mangle his reputation, when lie no longer lives to 
defend it. These letters all shew, that his pursuits were Nolan vin= 
honest, and his heart patriotic, for in his letter of June a^^^^is' 
10th, 1796, he says, ** I flatter myself ^ my dear Generalf letters 
you have put the most favo\irable construction^ upon my 
silence; the friend and pi'otector of mtj youths I can never , 

j'orgct; but ungenerously suspected for a spy by the Jlcxi" 
cans, and even by your old friend Guyoso, I cautiously dt" 
nied myself the pleasure of addressing you ; — a letter from 
« trader in fwrses, to a General of the Federal armies, 
would have confirmed suspicions that were nearly fatal 
to me ; arrived at length in the land of liberty, I feel a 
pleasure in giving you, the earliest testimony of my affeC" 
tionate remembrance;*^ and in his letter, dated Natchez, 
July 21st, 1797, when just about returning to the Mexi- 
can provinces, he says, «« Blue eye, no doubt, has already 
made you acquainted xvith Gayoso : he is a vile man,* and 
my implacable enemy, yet he treats me with attention. 
During the commotions here, he 7vrote to the Baron, re- 
questing that he would not permit me to leave Orleans,'—' 

HE WILL TAKE AN ACTIVE PART AGAINST US ; HE IS 
POPULAR AND ENTERPRISING ; SECURE HIM — Under 

the same cover he subscribed himself my friend, and 
but a few days btfore, made me a present of a sextant. 
The Baron knows him, and has done all in his power, to 
secure me from his vengeance. J have, however, my fears, 
and I may yet be obliged to shoot the monster with a poison- 
ed arrovj." In the same letter, he (Nolan) adds, «* will 
we have a war? at all events lean cut my way bach, and 

* Whatever may have been the causes of Mr. Nolan's hostility to 
Governor Gayoso, it is my duty to render justice to the dead, by re- 
markinji', thut the Govci-nor, who bad received his education in Eng- 
land, was tlie polishf'l gentlemun, fc.miliur m his manne.s, accessible 
10 all, warm in his attachments, and of boundless generosity. 

Yoi. ir. H h 



343 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, you may calculate on me." And in the letter of April 
^ "' 24th, in the same year, wljen preparing to set out on this 
expotlition, he tells me of his preparations, for taking a 
map of the country he was ahout to visit, and the deposi- 
tion* of S. P. Moore proves, tliat the information he might 
collect was intended, for tiie hcnefit of the government of 
the United States, in the event of a war with the Spa- 
niards. 

Such, Mr. President, are the conclusive proofs of 
the uprightness and integrity of Nolan's disposition. 
And if he was tutored hy me, and had fashioned his prin- 
ciples in imitation of mine, a hetter proof of my ov^ n in- 
tegrity, could not he offered, than the zealous patriotism, 
disi)layed hy this young man ; In his correspondence 
with me, everything is American, — Nothing is Spanish; 
and yet this is the man, represented as my confidential 
agent, in my corrupt intrigues with the Spaniards ! — 
The man, whom Power has dared to sA\'car, received for 
me the wages of corruption, and who furnished him, 
with the forged instructions, he has produced before the 
court. In this place, it may be proper to notice a singu- 
lar error, which has found its way into Mr. Bacon's re- 
port, page 61, where we perceive in the extract of No- 
lan's letter to myself, dated July 21st, 1797, the words 
<< United States" are recorded instead of the word " us," 
which confounds the sense of a quotation, from a letter of 
Gayoso to Carondelet, but I do not ascribe tiiis eri-or to 
Mr. Bacon. 

In examining the volume of testimony adduced to sup- 

, port the two iirst charges, I have omitted to notice par- 

isaac ticularly, the statement contained in Isaac Briggs's aflir- 

iiriggs's mationJ which relates to the report he had heard, of ten 

umi-ma- * 

tion ex- thousand dollars having been paid me, by the Spanish 
amuied. government, at New Orleans in 1804, and the conversa- 
tion which Mr. Briggs says, passed between us, on that 
subject, in October, 1806, at Washington, Mississippi 
Territory. 

* See Appendix, No. III. 

f See Appendix, No. LVIII. — First Report Committee of Con 
gress, Mr. Butler chairman, page 77. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 34^ 

Though I certainly have not the slightest recollection, chap. 
of tliis conversation, as stated by Mr. Briggs, yet it is ^^^' 
not my wish, nor is at all necessary, to impute any wilful 
misrepresentation to him. Mr. Briggs says, that his 
statement is from memory, after a lapse of three or four 
years, from October, 1806, when the conversation pass- 
ed, to April, 1810, when his affirmation is dated j that he 
preserved no note nor memorandum of it, and in his se- 
Goml deposition,* dated January 9th, 1811, in answer to 
the eighth interrogatory, he acknowledges, "/?<? is not 
certaiti he has stated, expressly the words employed hj me J' 
It is possible, that in reference to former mei'cantile 
transactions, I may have observed to Mr. Briggs, tliat 
I had received money from the Spanish government, on 
that account, which had been since construed into a pen- 
sion ; and he may have considered this general observa- 
tion, as applied in answer, to the particular report, he 
had mentioned to me, about the ten thousand dollars. 
Or else, if Mr. Briggs is not mistaken, as to the purport 
of the conversation, it must have been altogether jocular 
on my part, as he seems himself inclined to admit, in his 
answer to the seventh interrogatory, in his second affir- 
mation, beinre referred to. In the same affirmation, Mr. 
Briggs has declared to the great vivacity of my manner, 
at the beginning of the conversation, when I observed, at 
the first moment of meeting him, " It must appear strange 
to you, friend Bnggs, that J, a Spanish officer, am now on 
my way to fight the Spaniards, should they not retire." 
Unless my accusers construe this gaiety into a serious 
confession, that I am actually a Spanish officer, it will 
su-ffidently shew, the lively humour and raillery with which 
the conversation commenced, ami the jocose levity with 
which any expressions from me, at that time, must have 
been intended to be used, and ought to have been received. 
The most credulous will hardly suppose, that, at such a 
moment, when I was about to lead a detachment of our 
troops to oppose and fight the Spaniards, if necessary, I 

* See Appendix, No. LIX.— Third Report of the Committee of 
Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 274. 



SM MEMOIRS BY 

CHS p. could liave intended, by my own acknowledgments, to 
have jj;ivui countenance to the iumour,then industriously 
propagated, of my being a Spanish officer and pensioner^ 
and the most j)rt.'jiidiced cannot deny me, the benefit of 
tliatjust rule of construction, in relation to evidence, de- 
rived fi'om the ackowlcdgments of a party, which decides 
that you are to take, what he says altogether, and not 
convict him, by perverting one part of his declarations, 
and suppressing or excluding another. If, therefore, 
Mr. Briggs is not, altogether, inaccurate in his recollec- 
tion, as any man might well be, in detailing the particu- 
lars of a conversation, not pcrsonallv interesting to him- 
self, three or four years after it occurred, without as- 
cribing any improper motive to him, it may be only 
necessary to remark, tliat his own statements connected, 
are a sufficient answer to any unfavourable inferences 
against me, which might be drawn from a partial view of 
them ; because the natural conclusion would be, that if I 
did admit the receipt of the money, I explained, at the 
same time, the account on which it had been received. 
But I repeat, that if such an expression did escape mc, it 
must have been altogether jocular. The facts, necessa- 
rily, forbid any other conclusion j nor is there the least 
imj)ression on my mind, of the circumstances related by 
Mr. Briggs. I mean not to impeach his credibility, but, 
it is evi(h>nt, his memory is not to be relied upon, as en- 
tirely correct; because he is, certainly, mistaken, as 
to the time of the conversation, which he states, to have 
occurred about the beginning of the tenth month, that 
is, in October, 1806, at Washington in the Mississippi 
Territory. From my communications to the War De- 
partment*, dated at Natchez, September 8th, 1806, and 
my letters to the Spanish governor Cordero, dated Nat- 
chitoches, September 2ith, 1806, and October 8th, 1806, 
and at Camp Potrcro, October 29th, and October 30th, 
1806,1 it is manifest, that at the time Mr. Briggs speaks 

* See Appendix, No. LX. 

f See Third llpport Committee of Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, 
p. 378. 384. 396. 399. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 34« 

of, I must have been, at leasU an hundred leagues distant, chap. 
from Washington in the Mississippi Territory f which is the ^^ ' 
place he has assigned/or our interview. 

It appears from Mr. Briggs's second affirmation, that Arbitrary 
at the time he affirmed before the conclave,* of which of Com- 
Mr. Butle? was chairman, he very fairly, and properly ^uteesof 
communiciited to them, the explanations, which he after- exposed. 
wards staled to the committee, of which Mr. Bacon was 
chairman. But it seems the first committee, omitted 
these explanations, for the charitable purpose, I pre- 
sume, of presenting Mr. Briggs's evidence, in the 
strongest, and most unfavourable light, to the officer 
whom they sought to destroy. Of the injustice of this 
and similar conduct, of certain committees of the ele- 
venth Congress of the United States, I forbear to ex- 
press what my feelings dictate, and my wrongs would 
justify. The world has witnessed it, and I leave it to 
the justice, of the nation to apply the proper comments. 

The malicious delight, with which every circumstance 
has been seized upon, however light or contemptible, 
that could excite surmises against me, cannot have es- 
caped the attention of this court. Suspicion, gentlemen, 
has been ever the favourite weapon, employed by my 
accusers and their auxiliaries, to harass my life and 
destroy my character* : wliether the same weapon has not 
been used, with all possible dexterity, against me, pend- 
ing the last scene of my sufferings, you, gentlemen, can 
best determine. 

* This committee, as well as that of which the honourable Thomas 
Vewton was chairman, sat in conclave, and the officer, whose de- 
struction the honourable chairman sought with ardent zeal, was not. 
permitted to confront his accusers. Such treatment of a subject in 
England, would be deemed tyrannic, in France it would be called 
despotic, and in Spain inquisitorial; but under the free government, 
which I contended, at every peril, to establish, and to which my life 
has been devoted, the exercise of such high-handed authority, to stab 
the honour of a citizen, dearer to him than life, is very calmly de- 
clared to be a parliamentary prerogative, one of the indefeasible attri. 
butes, of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United 
States, 



216 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 

vn. 




Sale of 
Louisiana 
to France, 
and occlu- 
sion of the 
depot at 
New Or- 
leans. 



General 
Wilkin- 
son's con- 
duct on 
the occa- 
sion. 



Witli the double view, of enhancing his own credit, by 
testimonials from my hand, and, at the same time, to 
spread doubts and suspicions, upon the records of the 
court. Power has produced here, several of my letters to 
him, dated 1803, which, being* highly confidential, full 
of amicable professions, and bearing directly upon cer- 
tain political objects, of great interest to Ihc United 
States, very naturally, at first sight, ju-oduce inpressions 
unfavourable to me; but, when connected with his let- 
ters to me, and with the time and circumstancts, and the 
motives under which, it is manifest, tliis corrcf-pondence 
took place, they will furnish another evidence, of my 
patriotism, my vigilance, and zeal in the public service. 

The deliberations of our public councils, in 1803, will 
best pourtray tJie political agitations which were excited, 
by the sale of Louisiana to the French republic, and ilii 
occlusion of the depot at New Orleajis : the first incident 
occasioned serious inquietude; but the last act. being a 
violation of treaty and a breach of faith, roused a degree 
of indignation, which menaced wai' and would have pro- 
duced it, if a change of circumstances had not speedily 
intervened. 

At this interesting epoch, I was engaged on the esta- 
blishment of a boundary line, between the Choctaw In- 
dians, and the inhabitants of the Mississippi territory; — 
a difficult and laborious work, by vhich I saved fifty or 
sixty thousand dollars, to the pi/blic. The intelligence 
of this interdiction of our trade, was transmitted to me, 
in the wilderness, and caused me to redouble my exer- 
tions, that I might reach Foi-t Adams, tlic national bar- 
rier on the Mississippi, as speedily as possible; but I 
did not delay a moment, to exert my best faculties and 
my utmost influence, to have tlie deposit rcstoi'ed. I ac- 
cordingly wrote from the Homo Cliitto,* about the 16th 
of January, 180;}, to every character in New Orleans, 
who, I believed, possessed weight, and was well disposed 



* A large water course, which empties into the Mississippi jusi 
above Fort Adams. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S47 

to the United States, or might be induced to dread the CHAP, 
effects of the continued occlusion of the depot j and sent ^ "" 
a confidential ag-ent, Captain Shauniburgh, properly in- 
structed, to that city. 

Power was among the number, whom I addressed at Motives 
that critical and interesting moment. I had not seen or j^ ^^' 
heard of him, since the year 1798, when acting in a pub- Thomas 
lie capacity, with the Spanish commission on the line of piaTned^^ 
demarcation ; at wliich time, he professed great admira- 
tion of the government of the United States, and much 
devotion to myself: it is true, Mr. Ellicott informed me, 
he was my secret enemy, but he bad given me no cause 
at that time, to suspect him of duplicity, and I had no 
reason to fear his resentment. I knew him to be a good 
interpreter, that he possessed capacity, understood cha- 
racters, and might be useful to my agent, in promoting 
the objects of his missiou to New Orleans, and therefore 
I wrote to him. 

But it has been explained in the preceding part of this 
defence, how I first became acquainted with Power, and 
the progress of his intei'course with me; in which it has 
been clearly demonstrated, as far as a negative can be 
proved, that intrigue or corruption had no share. 

It has also been seen, that Power was employed by 
Nolan, in 1796, to convey from New Madrid to Louis- 
ville, the sum of S9000, due me on a commercial ac- 
count, as is proved, and explained, to the court ; which 
iiad been transmitted from New Orleans: and that he 
had performed this service with fidelity and care. 

It has further appeared, that about t!ie same period. 
Power had been employed, and paid by me, to procure 
the deposition of the fugitive Newman, under circum- 
stances before stated to the court; and in this service he 
had also acquitted himself faithfully, and successfully, by 
sending me Newman's deposition, in an authentic form, 
taken in February, 1797, in Power's own hand writing, 
now in my possession. 

These services had impressed me favourably towards 
Mr. Power, and^ certainly, gave him a clain* to my good 



gl8 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP- will; and I mention them, to excuse ray intimacy witli a 
^"^' man, who has turned out so contrary to my expectations. 
But while thus volunteering my best exertions, to 
open the port of New Orleans, I was promoting another 
object of importance to the public, and also foreign to 
my professional duties; this was to procure a transcript 
from the land records, which had been carried away by 
the Spaniards, from tlie district of Natchez; and I made 
this the ostensible motive, for sending Captain Shaum- 
burgh to New Orleans. This transaction is explained, 
in my letter to the secretary of war, from the frontier of 
Georgia, dated 30th May, 1803, and his answer* of the 
18th June of the same year, both submitted to tiie court. 
In this, I succeeded with the Spanish government, and 
Power was appointed by the Governor, to make the 
transcript; and hence my frequent recurrence to that 
subject, in my correspondence with him. 

Having completed the demarcation of the Indian boun 
dary, under extreme ill health, during an inclement sea- 
son, I arrived at Fort Adams, the 27th of January, and 
took shelter under a roof, for the first time in six months; 
soon after which I received letters, from Don Andres Ar- 
mesto,f the secretary of the province of Louisiana, and 
Thomas Power,:|: the first bearing date the 5th, and the 

Zeal (lis- last the 6th of February, 1803, submitted to the court; 

played by j^ which I am informed, that my »< remonstrance 

Power in ^ , 

his new THROUGH ShAUMBURGH, HAD BROUGHT THE iNTEN- 

agency. daNT TO A PAUSE, AND THAT HE HAD ISSUED A PRO- 
CLAMATION, ADMITTING ILOUR, AND AXL KINDS OF 
PROVISIONS TO BE INTRODUCED, ON PAYING SIX PER 
CENT DUTY, AND SUBJECT TO EXPORTATION IN SPA- 
NISH BOTTOMS ONLY." And thus it appears that my 
prompt exertions, although they did not restore the de- 
posit, in the extent guaranteed by the treaty, produced a 
. salutary relaxation in favour of our western trade. Yet, 
tbe violation of an essential right was still maintained, 
' and the public clamour by no means decreased. A sense 

• See Appendix, No. LXI. j See Appendix, No. LXII. 

;: Sec Appendix, No. LXIII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^49 

uf duty, directed my views to the dernier resort; my chap. 
measures were concspondciii, and I hastened to put my ^ *'• 
hiiudful of troops, iu the bist t onditioii to cal'orcc* our 
claims, shouhl the government think proper so to direct. 
But amidst these pnparations, my attention was called, 
to a subject of a moie alanninji; nature, by a letter frcuu 
Daniel Clark, read in evidence before the court, of which 
llic following' is a faithful copy. 

« JVl'W Orleans, 9,6th February, 1803, 

•' Sir, 

" I arrived here late last night from Euroi)e, last from Daniel 

Liverpool. I was in Paris (ill late in November, and ij.;''i'j|; of 

was introduced to the commander in chief of the exnedi- 26'hFcb, 

1 so ** 
tion, and to almost all the principal officers destined for ^" 

this country, who may be shortly expected. The embar- 
kation was to take place at Helveotsluys, in Holland, and 
was to consist of 4500 men, and an immense staff, artil- 
lery, &c. &c. Three to four hundred cavalry are to be 
mounted immediately on their arrival. The whole body 
of general officers and employes, who had until then re- 
mained in Paris, had set off for Holland, on the 8th De- 
cember; so that, making some allowances for the time 
necessary to embark, you may calculate, witli tolerable 
precision, on the time of their arrival here, as the trans- 
ports, with the vessels of war, appointed to cotivoy them, 
had been, for some time, waiting tlie aniva! of the com- 
mander in chief. I am, from my own observations, fully 
authorised to say, that a constant, tliJ'ugli perhaps an in- 
direct, system of hostility, w ill be pursued, respecting the 
United States; and I think it an indispensable duty to 
my country, to give you the earliest intelligence, that you 
may be prepared for the event; and make no doubt, but 
you will shortly (if not already) have ad\ ice from the 
seat of government, to correspond with what 1 now write 
you. I take the liberty, though it may appear presump- 

* See Appendix, No. LVIII— Isaac Briggs's affirmation, the re- 
port of Governor Claiborne to him, as tar as respects myself, bein^ 
correct. 

voi. H. I i 



250 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, tuous, to rccal to your mind, the situation of the garri- 
^^'' son on the Tombecbee, and the necessity of providing it^ 
with an ample supply of provisions, before tbe arrival of 
the French at Mobille, may render it impracticable to do 
it by water conveyance. Should you think it proper, 
be pleased to give tlie governor of the Mississippi terri- 
tory, communication of this letter, which I should have 
extended by very considerable details, were I not suffer- 
ing great bodily pain, in consequence of a fall from a 
horse yesterday, in my eagerness to get up to town. I 
am told, you may be daily looked for iicre : if 1 find, on 
enquiry, that this is not the case, I sball, in a very few- 
days, when I am able to sit on horseback, proceed to 
head quarters; thinking the intelligence I can give you 
of sufficient importance, to cause me to undertake the 
journey. I had forgot to mention, that I sailed fi*om Li- 
verpool on the 24tli December, and every thing bore a 
peaceable appearance in Europe. 

« I remain, with respect, 
« Sir, 

" Your A'^ery humble servant, 
(Signed) <• DANIEL CLARK. 

'>' F. S, General Victor is thccommandcr in cinef: 
he will have in his staff, no less than eight ofliccrs, of the 
rank of brigadier. Laussatt is prefect, and Jean Job 
Aime, chief judge. 

" Brigadier-genei'id James Wilkinson." 

Under the circumstance of this intelligence, which ap- 
prised me of a meditated design, bj' a poweifid nation, 
against the peace and interests of my country, I wufy 
bound to open every avenue of information in my power; 
and Thomas Power, fi'om the avowals of his letter,* oc- 
curred to me as a fit subject for my purpose : I therefore 
commenced witli him, the correspondence which is now 
quoted against me; yet it is manifest, from the whole of 

* Feb. 6th, 1803.— See Appendix, No. LXIII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 251 

Jiis communications, that he entered with zeal into the chap. 

cause of tlic United States, even to the acceptance, from ^'** 

my liands, of a warrant appointment, without pay or Thomas 

emoluments. From the variety of Power's information. Power 

in his agency of a spy upon his own government, I will ^^r■^rra.nt 

beg leave to read the following letter, which he has ac- appoint- 

knowledged, before this court, to be correct, and, to use General 

his express language, *' he nEcorLECTKn it as per- Wilkin- 

son. 
PECTLY, AS IF IT H.VD BEEN WRITTBTf TWO MINUTES 

SINCE." 



Extract of a letter, in cypher, from Thomas Power, in JVenv 
Orleans, to Bngadier-general James Wilkinson, at Fort 
Mams, dated May 5th, 1803; the material parts of which 
were transmitted by the General to the secretary oj^var, 
as per certificate before the court. 

[Confidential.] 
<* The Prefect has, on several occasions, in Thomas 

SPEAKING OF YOU, MADE USE OF VERY LULIBERAL LAN- power's 

singular 
GUAGE, AND THAT, NOT IN PRIVATE, BUT IN PUBLIC letter to 

\ND NUMEROUS COMPANY. He HAS SAID, AMONG OTHER i^fjf^^^ 

THINGS, THAT YOUR CHARACTER WAS PERFECTLY WELL son, May 

UNDERSTOOD IN FRANCE j that your principles were woi ^^^^,j, '^' 
at all enigmatical; that you had tricked and deceived reference 
(diqje et trompe) the Spanish government. I am of the f^^^ LauT-' 
opinion, and think Bonaparte is deceiving your executive, satt. 
and for the following reasons, viz: I know, from the best 
authority, that the French calculate on the assistance of ten 
thousand Indians, on the east side of the Mississippi, incase 
of a rupture with the United States; and that these are the 
Choctaws, principally, is to me evident from the talk, al- 
ready sent to them by Mingo Pooskoos,'*^ the little king of the 
Chickasaw Hay toxvns; and from a secret commission, (the 
subject of which I have not yet been able to penetrate) with 
which the Chevalier Villiers, is charged for this nation. He 
was to have set off some days ago; but, owing to I know 

* A distinguished Choctaw chief, of Chickasa-Hayc towns. 



25S, MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, not xvhat cirainistance, he is still here. This Villiers has 
been, for a long tlme^ an Indian agents and possesses consi- 
derable brfi.nence in the nation. It rconld be proper this 
should be communicated to Dinsmoor,* who ought to be on 
his guard, and keep a good look out. I hare no safe oppor- 
tunity of corresponding with idmfroni this place. If T hap- 
pen to find outf when Villiers is to meet the Indians, you. 
shall know. The. concurrence of the uhoxe circumstances ^ 
does not leave a doubt in my mindf hit that something sinister 
and hostile^ is breeding ; — if I can once lay hold of the clnc^ 
we shall easily bciffie their tortuous and perfdions iiolitics. 
You may rest assured, that all my discerning faculties sJuill 
be called into activity. My modelj has been rather injured, 
and I fear you will not understand this. Three days ago 
the Prefect xvrote to the Governor, stating that, as he was 
hourly expecting the troops, it was high time he should pro- 
vide suitable accommodations for the officers, of whom he 
inclosed a statement ^ which I saw, and is as follows: 24 
etat major du general, 6 etat major de la place, 8 de la di- 
rection du genie f 8 de la direction de Vartilleric, 135 infan- 
try, 39 dragoons, 6 oncers de sante, 12 du corps d'artille- 
rie, \% du corps du genie, qui n''a pas de soldats; in all 250 
officers, besides 30 not attached !o the corps that are coming. 
Total of the force, 280 officers ; in which number there are 
ten or twelve general officers. Docs this look as if they were 
not coming? or, as fthc province was to continue to be go- 
vcrned, I mean garrisoned, by Spanish troops? Make what 
you please of this info7:maiion, but the source from whence it 
Jloics, must remain concealed behind an impenetrable veil of 
secresy. There may be some slight mistake, in the details 
you may find at the end of this paper, owing to my not 
thinking it worth my while, to commit them to memory; 

* Silas Dliismoor esrj. of New Hampsliire, a man of liberal educa- 
tion, bnlliiint genius, noble lieart, philanthropic disposition, arc! 
great ener{jy and en(erprii-e. He first introduced the wheel and the 
loom into the Cherokee nation ; and at this time was the public agent 
to the Choctaw nation, from which office he has since been removed^ 
most unjustly and cruelly, by the despotic iron-hearted Armstrong 

t The cypher 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 253 

but the totality, I mean in point of number, is perfectly accu- chap, 
rote and faitliful. Should tou hear of my having ac- 

ilEPTED AN EMPLOYMENT IN THE Fr^NCH SERVICE, xi.omas 

WHICH MORE THAN PROBABLY WILL BE THE CASE, DO Power 

proposes 
NOT PERMIT THIS TO INTERRUPT OUR COMMUNICA- [q gn^gp 

TIONS; MY PRINCIPLES SHALL SUFFER NO ALTERATION, theFrench 

service. 
NOR SHALL MY VIEWS ABERRATE FROM THEIR FAVOUR- 
ITE OBJECT ; IF I DO ACCEPT OF AN EMPLOYMENT, IT 
SHALL BE WITH A SECONDARY VIEW, THAT OF FACILI- 
TATING OUR PROJECT AT A FUTURE AND MORE PROPI- 
TIOUS MOMENT. You MAY FOREVER RECKON ON THE 
FIDELITY AND ATTACHMENT OF YOUR DEVOTED FRIEND. 

Adieu!*' 



This testimonial forms an unfading record of Mr. 
Power's morality and honour, and of the thorough zeal, 
witli which he can advocate any canse he may espouse ; 
failing in capacity, as a Spanish officer, to serve the 
United States to the extent of his desires, he proposes to 
receive an appointment from the French government, to 
enahle him the more effectually to hetray it to me ; and 
this after he had implored and received from my hand, 
tlie nominal appointment of Assistant Military Agent in 
t!ie service of tlie United States, to protect him against 
the French government. I well recollect Power received 
an answer to this letter, the exhibition of which would 
not suit liis purpose, because it breathed too pure a 
spirit of honour, independence and patriotism; I regret 
that I have preserved no copy of it; and it is worthy of 
remark, that lie should, in this letter have introduced the 
abuse, applied to me by the Prefect Laussatt: if he (Pow- 
er) knew mc to be a Spanish officer or dependent, as he 
now says I was, why siiould he inform me, the Prefect 
had charged me with liaving cheated and duped (dupe ct 
ti"ompe)the Spaniards? This communication, under such 
( ircinnstances, would not have been either natural or ne- 
' essary, and furnishes one more proof of his (Mr. Pow- 
fi*';) perfidy and falsfliood. 




354 MEMOIRS BY 

ir censure be attached to the style of my correspond- 
once with Power, it must be attributed to my zeal in the 
service of my country ; twelve hundred miles removed 
flora the source of authority, and thieatened by the dan- 
g( rs, so imprcssiA'oly depicted to me by Mr. Clark, with 
his confident assurances, that I might, in consequence 
of his iniormation from Europe, to our executive, liourly 
expect orders to act offensively ; it became a matter of 
explained, first importance to me, to probe the feelings of the inha- 
bitants of the ceded country, and to exph)re every re- 
source of co-operation ; that I might know how, to make 
my calculations, and direct the bIow> with most certainty 
and effect, whenever the order should arrive ; it was for 
tlicse reasons, I soothed the inhabitants of New Orleans, 
flattered the descendants of Charles the Vth, and express- 
ed, in glowing language, m}'^ attachment to Louisiana; 
which has, indeed, ^increased with my knowledge of its 
amicable, kind-hearted, honourable, ancient iidiabitaiits ; 
and it was to^whet the zeal, and excite the ardour, of my 
agent Power, that I flattered his vanity, and Iield out to 
him expectations of reward : — let it be remembered, Mr. 
President, that until that correspondence, I was a stran- 
ger to tliis man's true character, and my views, at the 
time, were directed to the public good, and not to consi- 
derations of personal merit; unqualified, indeed, is that 
man, for military command, who suffers his sympathies 
or antipathies, to traverse great designs. I liad disco- 
vered Power's zeal ami capacity as an intelligencer, I 
believed he might be employed profitably for the public, 
and I cherished him to make him useful. But were my 
enquiries, and correspondence, confined to Power alone? 
No, Mr. President; Daniel Clark's letteis before the 
court, will shew, that he, also, was actively engaged in 
the same service, and my confidential communications 
WITH THE vicE-coxsui, Mr. William Hulings, also 
before the court, a man of honour and a true Ame- 
iMC/VN, will demonstrate that, although I employed 
Messrs. Clark and Power, I did not confide to them 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 255 

MY MOST IMPORt-ANT EN(iUIRIES, relative to the GAREI- CHAP. 

SON AND DE¥ENCEs of Ncw Orlcaiis, and the best mode ^^^' 

of ATTACKING THAT PLACE. ' 

I liave observed, that Power has garbled this corres- Power 
pondence, and the fact is undeniable ; for he has declin- his coires- 
ed, producing several of my letters to him, relative to pondence 
the occlusion of the port, and the expected arrival of the ntial wil- 
French ; although some of them are acknowledged to k'»son. 
have been received, in his letters to me, in evidence be- 
fore the court. The motives of this concealment cannot 
be mistaken ; — they would have distinctly explained, the 
integrity and the purity of my views, and defeated his 
iniquitous attempts to excite jealousies, injurious to my 
character. But the letters he has thought proper to ex- 
hibit, coupled with those addressed to mc, when their 
dates and contents are carefully attended to ; will eluci- 
date my designs and motives, at that interesting crisis, 
and place them beyond suspicion. 

It appears by tlie letters of Don Andres Armesto, and 
Power,* that my remonstrance to the Intendant, by Cap- 
tain Shaumburgh, to whom Power acted as interpreter, 
liad produced the restoration of the deposit, but burden- 
ed with imposts, and embarrassed with restrictions. It 
is, therefore, obvious, that I was earnestly endeavouring, 
to procure tlie restoration of the rights, secured to the 
Ujiited States by treaty. I had no reason, at that time, 
to suppose an attack from us, was desired by the Spa- 
niards j on the contrary, I believed their government at 
New Orleans, was moved by the influence and direction 
of France — and tliat they apprehended the infraction of 
the treaty, might occasion the commencement of hostili- 
ties, before the French troops should arrive, to protect 
them. My letter to Power, of February 23d, 1803, be- Quotat 
fore the court, shews that such were my impressions at <ion^ 
the time J for I therein inform him, *< he might assure wilkin- 
Ihe good people of his metropolis^ that theij should sleep in ^°^'^ '^'^- 
snfctijy unthout fear of danger from us, as the Pi-esidenf had Power of 

' See page 248 



ion 
Ge- 



256 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, determined to negotiate.^' But the answer of P()\\er, of 

^^^' March 3d, 1803, before the court, represented the inju- 

F b ">"(! i'ious measure of shutting the depot, as flowin!^, ♦< from 

1«03, and THE IIOSTIIiE FEELINGS OF THE SPANIARDS, TOWARDS 
answer^of ^^^^^ FRENCH, AND FROM THE HOPE, ON THE PART OF 
March 3d. tUE SPANISH GOVERNMENT, THAT IT WOULD PROVOKE 

THE Americans, TO seize New Orleans, before the 
ARRIVAL OF THE French FORCES;" — and in the same 
letter, in answer to the observaliDUS, before quoted from 
mine, of February 23d, he tells me, that »< the people 
OF New Orleans, so far from apprehending any 
dangers from our quarter, looked up to us, and 
expected us with the same feklings, as the Jews 
DO THEIR Messiah." The letter from Daniel Clark of 
Feb. 2Gth, 1803, received about the same time, led me to 
expect, orders from my government, on the subject of our 
relations with New Orleans, as well as the indirect* hos- 
tilities apprehended from the French. These letters, and 

* If Daniel Clark was v.-orthy of credit, his letter of the 29th 
May, 1803, hereunto attached, would afford strong evidence, of the 
meditated hostility of the French; but although this information, may 
have been without foundation, yet the circumstances of the moment, 
justified u ground of fear, and rendered it incumbent on me, to take 
every measure in my power, to frustrate designs inimical to the 
United States. 

[O^cial.] " JVVw Orleans, 29th May, 1803. 

« Sir, 
Daniel " I ^^^'^ j"st Icnrned confidentially, that a proposal was verbally 

Clark's made yesterday, by the Prefect, to the M.iquis de Casa Calvo,* to 
letter to prevent ihe Brig Hiram, now in the Mississippi, loaded with mili- 

'f."f !"* tary stores for Loftus Heip'hts, (Fort Adams) on account of the U. S., 

Wilkinson •' o » v y 

of May from proceeding to the place uf lier destination, and to dctam her 

29th, 1803. here until the arrival of General Victor. This proposal was received, 
and answered by the Marquis, in the manner it deserved, and he in- 
formed the Prefect, that so far from giving opposition, he would ren- 
der to her, and every other American vessel navigating the river, 
every assistance in his power. As the government of this province, 
may, and is expected to change from one moment to another, when 



One of the Spanish commissioners for ceding Louisiana to France. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 257 

the verbal communications of Mr. Clark, who visited me chap. 
in March, changed my opinion as to the measures likely 
to be pursued, and I then thought it most probable, that I 
should attack New Orleans by the orders of my govern- 
ment, in conformity to the wislies of the people of that city. 
My letter to Power of April 4tli, presented to the court, 
furnislies proof of this statement, for I say to him in that 
letter, « D. C. (^Daniel Clark) has been here, and I believe is 
now at Point Coupee. Monroe had not left JVew Fork the 
22d February^ and our councils seem to be in some state of 
alarm, etes vous pret et prepare." This clause of 
my letter, most clearly indicates my growing belief, that 
Mr. Monroe might not be permitted to go to Europe, and 
that the sincerity of the hopes and wishes of the Spa- 
niards, for our arrival, as expressed in Power's letter to 



measures inimical to the U. S. may be resorted to, I think it incum« 
bent on me, to give you advice of what has occurred, that you may 
take measures without delay, to put this vessel and car^^o in safety, 
by sending' a detachment, to assist in getting her up the river, as was 
done, formerly, on a similar occasion. 1 am informed there is an offi- 
cer in the service of the U S., on board the Hiram, and I shall imme- 
diately write to him, to know in what manner I can be of service, and 
if on receiving his answer, I learn that some addiional hands, will 
hasten the arrival of this vessel here, I will send them down to her, 
without del;iy- I write not to you, now, on sliglit grounds, but on unques- 
tionable authority, and I entreat you will take your measures, without 
communicating the contents of my letter, as in future all the sources 
of information, would Le shut against me, should this advice trans- 
pire. I shall avail myself of an opportunity by sea, in two or three 
days, to give an account of tliis measure, and other matter connected 
with it. to the secretary of state, and doubimg not, but you will do 
the same by land, I feel easy, on the score of its reaching govern- 
ment, without accident. This circumstance is so extraordinary as 
to baffle all conjecture, respecting the Prefect's motives. 

*' I remain with respect and esteem. Sir, 
" Your most obedient, 

"And most hunblc servant. 
(Signed) « DANIEL CLARK. 

" Hvigadicr-general Wilkinson^ 

VOL. 11. K k 



§58 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
VII. 



Orders 
received 
from the 
govern- 
ment. 



Reflec- 
tions on 
the com- 
mercial 
depot at 
New Or- 
leans. 



mc, might soon be put to the tiial ; and in my letter of 
the 13th of April to Power, submitted to the court, I tell 
him, «/ expect my final orders the 16th inst." As late, 
then, as the 13th of April, 1803, I had been busily en- 
gaged, in endeavouring to procure, the restoration of the 
deposit according to the treaty, and waiting for orders 
from my government, to i-egulatc my conduct towards 
the new masters of Louisiana. It was not necessary to 
wait for my final orders, if I intended to disobey them, 
or take any measures they should not warrant. Tht; 
dispositions of the government communicated to me at 
the time expected, are apparent in my letter to Power, 
of the 22d of April, submitted to the court, wherein I tell 
him « yon have nothing to expect from this quarter; we 
shall set down peifectly content with the deposit in JVcw 
Orleans, which the French will give, or continue to us, as 
long as it may snit their policy; we shall endeavour to pur- 
chase the left bank, but have no right to ask more than the 
restoration of the deposit. This is from the fountain head, 
and I give it to you in strict co7ifidenc€,'* 

Being now advised, that our government would in the 
first instance, demand the right of deposit, and that force 
was not intended to be immediately resorted to, it became 
my duty to promote those views: — to which my mea- 
sures were instantly conformed. I had been warned hy 
Mr. Clark, in his letters and convei'sation before referred 
to, that a system of indirect hostility, was intended to be 
practised, by the French towards us, as soon as they ob- 
tained possession of the country : and I had, also, been 
taught to believe by Power, that the occlusion of the port, 
by the Spanish officers, was not occasioned by any un- 
friendly disposition to us, but by hostility to the French ; 
I feared, therefore, that if any future measures were 
taken, relative to the deposit, the Spanish officers miglit 
be duped by the French, into the a(lo))tion of some other 
arrangement, on that subject, injurious to tlie interests of 
the United States, witliout being aware of its consequences : 
unless some person, on the part of the United States, in 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 359 

whom they (the Spaniards) had confidence, should be chap. 
near to advise them. 1 was, therefore, anxious to be at ^^^' 
hand, when any measure affecting our right to deposit, 
should be agitated ; in order to guard against the effects 
of intrigues, and to secure to the United States, the full 
possession of tlie rights, which had been guaranteed to 
them by treaty. No man, accustomed to remark on 
public events, and the conduct of nations, could fail to 
foresee, that, notwithstanding our treaty with Spain, the 
French might have claimed the right, to hold New Or- 
leans, as they might find it, w hen possession was deliver- 
ed to them ; and to deny our right, to any privileges there, 
except such as we enjoyed, when it came into their pos- 
session. If we appealed to the treaty with Spain, they 
could have appealed to the situation in which they re- 
ceived tlie province, and referred us to Spain for satis- 
faction. If they found our right to deposit regulated, not 
by treaty, but the will of the Spanish government, they 
might, with some shew of justice, have claimed the same 
right, to regulate it according to their discretion. And , 

believing from Clark's letter and conversation, that a 
pretext for such conduct, would be seized on with avidi- 
ty, and exercised with rigour, to vex and harass our 
commerce; it was important if any change did take place, 
that the restoration of our rights should be placed, on the 
just and solid basis of the treaty, and not merely as 
a matter of discretion or favour. After comparing the 
dates, and contents of my correspondence, no man, in 
search of truth, can doubt that the motives above stated, 
and those alone, produced my note to Power, inclosed in 
my letter of April £2d, before quoted, expressing my 
wish, that the deposit should not be touched upon, until 
I was near. I wished our rights to be openly and offi- 
cially acknowledged, by the Spaniards, before they part- 
ed from the possession ; which my knowledge of charac- 
ters, my personal influence, and the information I had 
received from New Orleans, induced me to believe, could 
be accomplished. The country would then have passed, 



260 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, into the hands of the French, without any pretext for 

future disputes and embarrassments. 

Noie to Let it be remembered, that at the date of my note to 

Power, Power, on which clamour is, no doubt, intended to be 

the con'u-^ raised, tbe right of deposit had been already restored 

nuance of through mv negotiations, but trammelled with imposts, 
"the occlu- * *j ± 

sion, ex- ^"d restrictions, contrary to the treaty. The reference 
plained, {n this note, to the Intcndant and the Marquis Casa Cai- 
ro, was necessary, because any change which might be 
proposed, anterior to tlie surrender of tlie province, 
would depend on them. The Marquis was, at the time, 
in the Havanna, but was daily expected, .is a commis- 
sioner, for the delivery, of the province to the French; 
the governor, Salcedo, being in his dotage. But my pro- 
position, could have been dictated by one object only; 
that is, the suspension of any farther proceedings, re- 
specting the deposit, ** until 1 arrived near them.^'^ The 
expression, instead of favouring a disposition on my part, 
to prevent the restoration of the d(^posit, warrants a con- 
trary conclusion; for surely the desire to be near the 
commissioners, before any modification should take place, 
can not, after my previous conduct, be fairly interpreted 
into a desire, that the opening of the deposit should not 
take place at all; and will be best explained by the in- 
tention with which it was written, viz. that I might have 
an opportunity, to participate in the measure, and, by 
my influence and management, procure the depot to be 
restored, to the letter and spirit of the treaty, freed from 
imposts and commercial restrictions; and, that whilst I 
thus served my country, I might acquire the credit due, 
to such demonstrations of my zeal and enterpi'ise. 

Power was directed to speak confidentially, to the 
Marquis Casa Calvo and the Intendant, because, con- 
cealment from the French oflicers and their agents, ^^as 
essential to the success of my designs. I could feel no dif- 
ficulty, in hazarding this confidence with the Spaniards. 

* The commissioners of France and Spain. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S6l 

as I knew tliey both indulged feelings of iiostility to the chap. 
Fivnch ; and Power, in liis letters, had represented these ^ "• 
feelings to be exasperated, by the compulsory cession of 
Louisiana. 

Upon the whole view of this correspondence, it will be 
found, that I always conformed my conduct, to the orders 
and wishes of my government, as soon as they were as- 
certained. When I tliought they contemplated hostili- 
ties, my letters prove, that I was actually preparing for 
the event, and seeking to rouse the Louisianians in our 
favour. AVhen I discovered that negotiation was re- 
solved on, I sought, by my personal exertions and in- 
fluence, to remove those obstacles, which might have 
been used as a pretext, for a further obstruction of our 
just claims. This conduct on my part, may be liable to 
the charge of presumption. It was for yielding to a si- 
milar impulse, during Burr's conspiracy, that I incurred 
all the persecutions which have followed. 

But to put beyond all question the true state of my mind, 
at the very moment of tliis correspondence, with Powder 
and Clark ; to shew the anxious, active movements of my 
soiil, in the public cause, and my sacred devotion to the 
interests 1 represented, I must beg leave to insert in this 
place, extracts from my letters to the seci-etary of war, 
dated Homo Chitto and Fort Adams, Jan. 16th, April 
24th, and July 24th, 1803, and my correspondence with 
William E. Hulings esq., then vice-consul at New Or- 
leanso 

« Homo Chitto River, Jan. IGth, 1303. 

*« I have taken measures to ascertain the disposition 
of the Governor and Intendant below me, and shall look 
for the result by the time I reach Fort Adams, where, I 
am just informed, tlie troops ordered from Tennessee 
last spring have arrived. 

<« You will perceive from the enclosed notification, that 
Colonel Grandpre* has refined on Mr. Morales,! and that 

• Governnr at Ratnn ■Rniig-A. h Intemlant of Louisiana. 



263 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, another turn of the sci-ew, will go near to break the cord; 
^'^" in trtith, this interdiction of intercourse, begins to take a 
serious aspect, which excites my strongest solicitude. 
You observe a kindling flame in the west, and I speak 
from a perfect knowledge of the materials, when I say it 
will soon become a devouring one, should the people be- 
low resist the treaty stipidation. To avert the evil as 
far as my humble powei-s go, I have written unofficial 
letters to my friends in New Orleans, and have urged 
that the Governor and Intend ant should take upon them 
to fulfil the treaty, by assigning a place of deposit; and 
shall look for good effects, if the First Consul's finger 
has not given direction to tiiis measure." 



«• Fort Mams, April 24th, 1803. 

« Should we get possession of New Orleans by treaty 
or by arms, I ask as a favour that I may be employed 
on the occasion. In the first case, I should fulfil a prog- 
nostic, wiuch I have long since made; and my intimacy 
with tlie inliabitants, their prejudices, habits and interests, 
would enable me to conciliate, and attach all parties to 
our government: in the last case, my knowledge of every 
approach, and every defence, and the firm adherents 
which I have within the place, might be of important 
avail to the attempt." 

«• Fort Mams, Jidy 24th, 1803. "^ 

<« Should any thing military be done in this quarter, 
you should hold out every deception from the seat of go- 
vernment forward, as the Spaniards may on the slight- 
est alarm, awaken fi'oni their steep, arm, and bring over 
a thousand men from the Havanna; which would destroy 
every idea of a cotip de main. 

« With the troops here, Bissel's, Stoddert's, Carmi- 
chacl's, and the two companies at South- West Point, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. g68 

will suffice, if you can send them down, without giving chap. 
alarm. ^^* 

« If any thing professional is to he done, which 
may imply trust and hazard, I hope you may confide 
the execution to me, or give an order to some one to 
KNOCK me in the head." 

« Fort MamSf Feb. 12iA, 1803. 
<« Dear Sir, 

« I purposely declined writing you by Shaumhugh, to Letter to 
excite the idea that we were not in correspondence, and ^jlln^ 
thereby to mask the object of this letter. esq. vice- 

» consul 

« I NOW ADDRESS YOU AS A PUBLIC OFFICER, AS AN -^^^ Qj.. 

American and a patriot, and confidently appeal to leans. 
you, for prompt and correct information on the subjects, 
embraced by the enclosed memoranda; as much, or all, 
will depend on secresy and concealment, you must have 
NO confidants in this transaction; and to guard our 
intercourse effectually, against enquiry and accident, you 
must make your communications by the cypher under 
cover, and address your letters to " Mr. John Tibbs, 
Buffaloe," and have them lodged in the post office in this 
place, « until called for.*' Our government has not 
come to any hostile conclusions; but, should the Spaniard 
persevere a little longer , in his dereliction of pnUic faith, 
and infraction of our rights, the spirit of the Westerns will 
not be restrained — the government nmst acquiesce, and the 
consequences are too obvious to need utterance. 

" Pending events so momentous, it is mtj duty to be pre-^ 
pared, to give due effect to the high trust reposed in me. 

« I make this communication to you in sacred confi- 
dence; I am concealed from the bearer, and will suggest 
to you, the expediency of burning it, together with 
the memoranda, after committing the contents to me- 
mory. 

*< As my movements will depend on contingencies, I 
dare not hazard an idea on this subject, but must beg to 
hoar from you as speedily as possible and without fail, as 



S64! MEMOIRS BY 

cn\P. often as any incident or occurrence, may in your judg- 



vn. 



ment render it necessary; the channel of communication 
must depend on your own discretion. 

« I have no doubt the Spaniards would prefer our oc- 
cupancy of Louisiana, to that of the French; but has any 
intimation of this escaped from them, and hoxv would the 
Creoles of the countriif relish such an event, with indej)e7id- 
cncc, and an attachment to tJie federal union? Farcwel! Be 
punctual and prompt, I conjure you. 

(Si!-ned) « JAMES WILKINSON. 

« William E. Hulings esq. 

" Vice-consul, JVew Orleans/' 

a 1st. — A plan (or delineation) done by scale, to shew 
the fortifications of New Orleans, with the relative posi- 
tion, and distance of the batteries, redoubts and enclosed 
works, from each other. 

« 2d. — -An account in detail of the several works, their 
magnitude and form, and defences against an assault. 

*' 3d. — The strength of the garrisons, (permanent 
and rotation ary) which occupy the several works, and 
of the daily guards, which mount within or without the 
walls of the city, and the positions which they respec- 
tively occupy. 

« 4th.— The number and distribution of the regular 
troops; to ascertain precisely their several stations, when 
in quarters or on duty. 

«« 5th. — The number and organization of the militia ol 
the city ; their arms, equipments, parades of assembly, 
and their commanders. 

" 6th. — The situation of the gallies; their number, 
equipment and crews. 

a 7th. — What are the precautions of defence, in the 
day and during the night? Have you alarm posts, or 
points of rendezvous, on a call to arms? Are your guards 
increased at night? Have you patroles; and what arc 
their rounds or duties, their strcngtii and gcricral con- 
^luct? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 265 

<* 8th. — What are the numher of the Americans and chap. 
English within the city, rapahlc of bearing arms, and 
what arc their dispositions towards the United States? 
What wouhl probably he their conduct, should the place 
be attacked by a coup de main? 

<« 9th. — Would the citizens generally resist, or would 
they quietly acquiese in a change of government, which 
may be effected without much bloodshed, and with the 
most sacred observance of respect to their riglits, inte- 
rests and feeiiugSf and which lias for object their inde 
jjendence, and association witli the American union on 
fair and equal grounds? 

*' Do not take time for a complete report, but answer 
these interrogatories collectively or separatively, with all 
the promptitude, your circumstances and information 
may enable. 

(Signed) « JAMES WILKINSON, 

" William E. Hidings esq. 

*' Vice-consul, Mw Orleans.** 

THE ANSWER. 

" Your letter of the 12th came this day to hand; I Letter 
have read it with due attention. from AViL 

liam E. 

" As I am no engineer, I cannot comply with your Hulin^s, 
first request, but have sent you a rough sketch of the sur»o°Ge. 
works. neral VVil^ 

" There are five forts, one at each angle of the town, "^^°"' 
with redoubts now in total ruin, without one piece*t)f 
cannon ; four of the five may be marched or even rode 
into without opposition; they are not provisioned for two 
days. 

<• Fort St. Charles, the lowest on the river, has fifteen 
pieces of cannon of twelve and eighteen pounds, on the 
outworks, whose carriages are rotten, and there as many 
on the inside of the fort, of four and six pounds. The 
embrasures are much decayed ; it has a ditch and draw 
VOL, II. LI 



S66 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, bridge, and is the only work that could make the least 

VII • • 

opposition. 

" Fort St. Louis, above the town, has fifteen embra- 
sures, much decayed, in some of which there are no can- 
non ', it may be rode into on the west side, where the dilch 
is filled up, so as to make a safe passage. 

<« In front, on the river, there is a bat(,ery of four pieces 
of twelve pounds j it is almost in ruins. 

« The three forts, back of the town, are totally defence- 
less ; their gates and pallisades being rotten and destroy- 
ed j— The pallisades of the town, are broken in a thou- 
sand places, and the gate of the town, on the Bayou road, 
cannot be shut; horsemen may come down the back road, 
and enter the city without resistance, while the main 
body comes down the river and lands in or near the 
city. 

"The garrison consists of about five hundred jnen, 
(regulars) composed of the regiment of Louisiana, and 
the Mexican regiment : Colonel Howard commands the 
first, and a Captain the second. 

« The officers are brave and active, and the soldiers 
are well clothed and armed. 

««Fort St. Louis and Fort St. Charles, are guarded by 
six men and one officer j the guard is not increased in the 
night. 

"There are nine men at the Government House, and 
about twenty dragoons at the corner of the square, near 
Moore's House,— ten and a Captain at the Town Hall, 
and seven at the Intendant's ; also three or four at Fort 
St. John: the rest remain at the barracks, — where I sup- 
pose, would be their place of rendezvous if they were 
attacked. 

« There arc no troops stationed out of the town, that I 
know of. 

««The militia are badly organized, — about five hun- 
dred in number, but many do not keep arms in their 
houses, — therefore arc not to be feared for a coup de main j 
their Colonel, Mr. Andreas is brave, as are most of tlie 
officers. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S67 

<«The militia seldom meet, — when they do, it is be- chap. 
I ween the king's stores. ^'^'• 

*< There is a company of cannonier militia, command- 
ed by Colonel Daunois; they parade in the artillery yard, 
opposite to the market house. 

«< You must seize that place. — We have but two armed 
schooners here at present, and their guns and tackle are 
on shore. 

« There is nothing to be feared from their naval force, 
unless they have time to refit them. 

«♦ There are small patroles, of militia and regulars at 
night, — about six men and a sentinel, at each fort and 
gate of the town ; there is also an officer who goes the 
rounds with two soldiers. 

"There may be about fifty Americans and English 
within the city, some of whom are enrolled^ they would 
not do more than they would be forced to do. 

<► The transient Americans will not certainly oppose 
you. 

"The generality of tlie inhabitants would rejoice to 
become Americans, many have so intimated to me. 

<* We are ignorant when the French will come ; if they 
are here before you, you will have mucii hot work of it; 
now is the time when it is quite defoucelcss, and might 
as easily be carried by a coup de main, as to kiss your 
hand. 

" Our magazine of powder, is on the west side of the 
river, and ought to be seized, — then the barracks, next 
Fort St. Charles ; these conquered, you are safe. I will 
have no confident. 

« Do not write often; when you do, let it be by a sure 
hand, as I know I am watched on all sides, by French 
and Spaniards. 

«« Please to receipt this, and direct you letters to Ben- 
jamin Morgan with the inclosure, without a superscrip- 
tion either inside or out. 

(Signed) «Wm. E. HULINGS. 

•' General James Wilkinson.'^ 



S68 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. This letter of Mr. Hillings was decyphcred by Cap- 
^ '^ fain Walbach, my then aid dc camp ; is in his manuscript, 
^ , and was accompanied with a sketch of New Orleans and 
sioHoftheits defences, which have been submitted to the court, 
tioirof the "^'"^ original in cypher with the key arc now dolivercd. 
first and Let US bear in mind, that wlien those communications 
cha^ffes. *^^^ place, the public sensibilities were loud and urgent, 
for the occupancy of New Orleans ; for which end, it be- 
came my duty, to be prepared at all points, the moment 
I might receive the oi'deis of the executive. 

And thus it has appeared, and will ever appear, that 
in every instance of my professional duties, in every exi- 
gency of the public service, my fidelity is manifest, and 
my zeal and activity conspicuous; and aft(M* such a course 
of conduct, without interruption for twenty years, wliere- 
in my services have been repeatedly confessed, by the 
highevSt authorities of this nation ; after all my toils, 
suffering and perils, consummated by (dd age and pe- 
nury. Gracious God ! am I to be put dow^ii, by vague 
imputations, and foul suspicions, for a participation in a 
conspiracy, of the existence of which you have no proof? 
or shall the intrigues of a foreign government, be employ- 
ed to effect my ruin, because I saved my own country 
from a civil wai' ? 

I pray you, gentlemen, to bring these facls home to 
your own bosoms, and to place yourselves in my hard 
situation. If suspicions founded on incidents and 
transactions of more than twenty years sfaudirig, can be 
renovated to destroy an oflicer, who, during the sarne 
period, has been actively engaged in the military service 
of iiis country, then I would ask who is safe, and where 
shall we find security against intrigue, power, wealth and 
talents, unrestrained by justice ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 269 



CHAP. 
Mil. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

The ihinU fonrthf and fifth charges discussed. — Cypher be- 
tween General Wilkinson and Colonel Burr^ established 
in 1800. — General Dayton xvntes to General Wilkinson in 
erjpher, by means of tJie hieroglyphics, originally arranged 
between Wilkinson and Bnrr. — Testimony of Colonel Co- 
vington and Captain Walbach respecting cypher. — Proofs, 
professed to be denved,from Wilkinson'' s conducty corres- 
pondence, ^'c; in the years 1805 and 1806, examined.— 
General Wilkinson departs from Washington, about the 
25th April, 1305, to enter npon the functions of Governor 
of Louisiana. — Colonel Burr leaves Philadelphia, for the 
western country, about the same time. — William Sim- 
mouses testimony referred to.—r-Doctor Browne and Charles 
Lauss mentioned by Colonel Burr. — William Simmons- s 
testimony before the court, and tlie committee of Congress, 
contrasted. — His deposition of the 15th Jlpril, 1S\0. — His 
deposition in January, 1811, commented on. — Captain 
Peter's deposition respecting the project, for cutting a 
canal at the Falls of Ohio. — Deposition of Coloiiel Mat- 
thew Lyon. — Burr pretends to change his plan of election 
to Congress, from Iknnessee to A"ew Orleans. — General 

Jnikinson''s letter introducing Burr to Daniel Clark ■ 

He proposes a commercial enterprise to Mr. Clark.—. 
General Wilkinson's and Daniel Clark's correspondence. 
— General Wilkinson's letter to General Adair, exam- 
ined. — Adair's letters to General Wilkinson, December, 
1805, January and Apnl, 1806. — Major Hunt's tcsti- 
viony, examined. — Major Bruff's depositions analysed 
and compared, with those of Major Hunt and W, Sim- 
mons, accountant of the war department. — The deposition 
of Lieutenant ff'hiUock, referred to. 

I NOW, Mr. President, will beg leave to call the at- 
tention of the court to tlie allegations, which impute to 
me a particii>atiou in the criminal designs of Colonel 



270 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP Burr. My offences on this head, are contained in the 
^^^^' third, fourth, and fifth charges. 

I am accused, Mr. President, of having conspired with 
Colonel Burr, and otiiers, to dismemher the union, — of 
having improperly concealed tiie communications of the 
conspirators on this subject, — and of having combined 
with them, to set on foot an expedition against the Sp.i- 
iiish provinces in America. All of these charges, and the 
specifications under them, are applied to my conduct in 
the years 1805 and 1806, I shall therefore discuss them 
togetlier; for it is of no consequence to me, whether any 
one of these charges, implies a higlier degree of turpitude 
than another: because, should I be found guilty, during 
tills period, or any other of my life, of having committed 
tiic least of these offences ; if tliere is any difference be- 
tween them, I am willing to suffer the penalty due to the 
highest. I proceed to shew, that they compose a tissue 
of shameless falsehoods. 

To give form and consistency to the threads and 
patches, of what arc termed proofs, derived from my 
conduct during the period to which these charges refer, 
adventitious circumstances, having no particular con- 
nexion with that period, are called in ; for the purpose of 
exciting suspicion, and preparing the public mind to con- 
demn me, on less proof than is required in ordinary cases. 
I was intimate with Colonel Burr j I corresponded with 
him in cypher ,• To have been his friend is now thought 
to he evidence of corruption : and there is, it seems, so 
inucli of necromancy in a cypher, that it can only be used 
by those, who are far gone in iniquity. If my intimacy 
with Colonel Burr, had commenced about the period of 
this conspiracy, or if the cypher had been then first em- 
ployed in our correspondence, I will admit that it would 
have furnished, some cause of suspicion; and I should not 
in that case, have complained, when the argument was 
torn- used against me. But it was notorious, that my friend- 
nien.e- j j ^.,jj|| (;,)](,ncl Burr, was formed, while he was a gal- 
iJeneiiLl I'.nit faithful Soldier of the revolution; when his heart was 

Wilk n- 
son's inti- 



warm, and his hand was ready in the cause of his coun- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S71 

try;— and when he was associated with the most pure chap. 
and gallant spirits, in the noblest and best of causes. ^^*^' 
Our intimacy, thus begun, had continued, by the mutual . . 

interchange of kind and friendly offices, in good and in Colonel 
evil fortune, for the long course of years, which had pass- 
ed since that period. And you, sir, and every soldier 
feels, how strongly the sympathy, produced by common 
hardships and dangers, binds men together ; and can 
readily appreciate the painful reluctance, with which an 
early friendship, so formed, and of such duration, was in 
the down-hill of life burst asunder. My intimacy with 
Colonel Burrcan, then, be no ground of suspicion 5 on the 
contrary, it will, to every generous and manly breast, 
most fully account for the difficulty with which I brought 
myself to believe, that, seduced by the allurements of am- 
bition, he was seeking to destroy the fair fabric, of those 
liberties, which he himself had assisted to rear and esta- 
blish. 

Neither was the cypher formed, for the purposes of Cypher 
conspiracy or treason: — for as early as the year 1800, ^^^t^''^^'^ 

*^ General 

when Colonel Burr stood high in the confidence of his Wilkinson 
country, when his ambition appeared to be chastened by a"[^ ^olo-j 

•^ * -^ •' nel Burr, 

patriotism, and to seek only legitimate objects of gratifi- establish- 
cation, we corresponded in cypher.* His letter to me, ^^' 
of October 10th, 1800, evinces this fact; and that of the 
5th April 1805, shews, that the same mode of correspon- 
dence was still continued, and that the subjects on which 
we corresponded, were not of a dark and criminal na- 
tui*e, such as imperiously required careful concealment. 
"Why," says Colonel Burr in the last letter, " put such 
a tax on the pleasure of your correspondence ?" speaking 
of the difficulty he had in deryphering it. When I am 
repi'oached with my intimacy with Colonel Burr; when 
the magical fiirms ai^ characters of the cypher, are 
brought forth and displayed against me, the circum- 
stances above detailed, which are in proof before this 

* See Appendix, No. LXIV. — Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 194—196. 



372 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, court, arc kept out of view ; we are not informed that the 

^"'- coiTospondenre, in cj^ilicr, was as old as 1800, and oup 

fricndsliip contemporaneous with the revolution. 

But General Dayton, too, corresponded with me in 
cyplier. Let it be remembered, Mr. President, that this, 
as almost every other circumstance relied on, to crimi- 
nate me iu this business, has been voluntarily furnished 
by myself, with nil that frankness which never fails to 
mark, '» a conscience void of offence." These letters 
were produced of my own accord, on the trial of Colonel 
Burr, and althouj^h they shew, that General Dayton 
wrote to me twice in cypher, they do not s!jcw that any 
hieroglyphics, had been previously arranged between us; 
Nay, sir, they prove the very reverse, and shew that 
these letters, were intruded on me by General Dayton, 
4;encral uusouglit for, and unexpected on my part. For in his 
wnuTto ^"'^^ letter,* dated July 16, 1806, he instructs me how to 
General decipher it, and gives the check words from the hiero- 
?n cyp"S" ^'''^'P''^'^'"^' f^i'i'anged between Colonel Burr and myself, 
and gives long before that period. If I had already agreed upon a 
word from cyplier with General Dayton. this explanation would have 
hierogly- been unnecessary. It sliews, he had procured my cypher 
ginally ar- f'''>"» Coloiicl Burr, and employed it to explain his com- 
lan^ed be- iTinnications. The amount of this proof, tlius resolves 
Wilkinson itself, that Burr furnished General Dayton a C(ipy of my 
and Burr, cypher, and the latter made use of it, to tempt me from 
my duty if possible. For the acts of Burr aiul Dayton, 
done without my consent or kimwledge, 1 trust I am not 
to be held responsible, by this court or my country. 
Tcstimo- Nor were Colonel Bui'r and his associates, the (mly or 
nyotco- i^jjg ^j,^^ persons, who addressed me in these mysterious 

lonel Gov- ' ' •' 

ingtonand characters. The testimony! of Colonel Covington,:}: and 
Walb'ch Captain Walbach,§ shew conclusively, that I had prac- 
respeci- tiscd this modc of correspondenceir as long ago as 179i, 
pher^ and had continued to do so, down to the period of Burr's 

* See Burr's Trial, paGrc 236. 

t See Appendix, No. LXV.— Burr's Trial, page 242. 264. 

+ The laic General Covington. 

§ The present Colonel Walbach. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^73 

conspiracy. If any one should say, that the respectable chap. 
and distinguished characteis mentioned by Captain Wal- ^ '"' 
bach, witli wlioni I had interchanged cyphers, might on 
il^at account, be suspected of criminal designs, he would 
be treated w ith ridicule. The use of a cypher, therefore, 
is not of itself any circumstance of suspicion. How un- 
just then, is it in my case, and in my case only, to draw 
an argument of guilt, merely from the use of an occult 
character? — a character I was in the constant habit of 
using, at such various and distant periods of time ; with 
persons so distinct from each other, in their relative si- 
tuations of life, and engaged in such different pursuits, 
that it must be evident, the subjects of correspondence 
were totally unconnected. 

Mr. President, I have perhaps dwelt too long on this 
point; but the malevolence of my enemies has attached 
so much importance to the mysterious characters, in 
which I corresponded with Colonel Burr, that I have 
felt myself bound to give this full explanation ; for the 
purpose of siiewing, that however whimsical the shape of 
an hieroglyphic may appear to some, it is not necessarily 
the emblem of conspiracy or treason. 

I proceed now. Sir, to examine the proofs professed to Examlnar 
be derived from my conduct, correspondence and conver- t'O" "f 

1 .,.,,..,. proofspra- 

sations, in the years 1805 and 1806, at which time it iSfessedto 

alleged, I was leagued with the conspirators, or conceal- bedemed 

'^ ^ » from Ge- 

ed their machinations. In the winter of 1805, I was ap- neral Wil- 

nointed governor of Louisiana; I was then in the city of '^'"^°"'^.. 

i i^ ' '' conduct iA 

Washington, and continued there until the spring of that the years 

year. On the Sd of March in the same vear. Colonel }^^f ^"^^ 

' 1805. 

Burr ceased to fill the second omce in the government, 

and some time after the close of that session of Congress, 

both of us set out for the western country; I to enter 

upon the duties of my new appointment, and he, it now 

seems, with disappointment and revenge rankling in his 

breast, prepared for any desperate enterprise, howtver 

detestable. He left Washington about the first of April; 

1 about the twenty -fifth of the same month. Jasepii Whea- 

ton, the witness, is mistaken in his deposition, when he 

VOL. 11. M m 



374 MKIMOIRS BY 

CHAP, stales, that 1 continued in the city of 'M'asliington, until 
Z!^ near June, for I arrived at Pittsburgh about the first of 
May. But while Colonel Burr remained at the city of 
Washington, our intimacy continued without relaxation; 
and hence, it has been cruelly inferred, that I was privy 
to his discontents, participated in his views, and planned 
with hira, the desperate enterprise, in which he subse- 
quently engaged. That I felt his degradation as a friend, 
I shall most readily admit; hut that I participated in his 
schemes, or suspected that he had formed any plans, in- 
jurious to the interests of his country, is, I can clearly 
prove, utterly false. My impressions, at that time, of 
the views of Colonel Buit in the western country, are 
partially explained by the deposition^ of William Simmons, 
taken before the committee of Congress, January lOtli, 
1811, in answer to the 6th interrogatory put by me, and 
by the lettersf referred to, and produced by him in his 
answer to that interrogatory. Mr. Simmons swears,, 
that when he, « in April, 1S05, shewed me Dayton's 
letter, and consulted me on the subject, I named Burr as 
one of the persons, who was concerned with me, in a ca- 
nal scheme, at the falls of Ohio." I must therefore, at 
that time, have believed, that Buii* was about to engage, 
in the peaceful pursuits of civil life. The value of the 
contemplated canal, depended upon tlie continuation ol 
the peace of the western country. In times of civil com- 
motion, it would have been worth nothing to the stock 
holders; and if Burr had, at that time, oilier views, and 
only held up this scheme to the public, to lull suspicion, 
while his plans were maturing, he carefidly concealed 
his design from me; for in his letter^: of April 5th, 1805. 
a few days before he left Philadelphia, for the western 
country, he says, « Browne will obey any order you may 
give him; Charles Lauss, the surveyor, will accompany him 

* See Third Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, 
pacje 483. 

f See Third Repoi't Committee of Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, 
page 496—502. 

i See Appendix, No. LXVI. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 275 

or mc;-* obviously alluding to the contemplated canal, chap. 
and necessarily impressing me with the belief, that he ^'"' 
was seriously engaged in that project, for which, alone, 
tlie presence of tlie surveyor could be necessary. The 
Dr. Browne alluded to in this letter, was the friend and 
relative of Colonel Burr, and had been appointed by the 
President, on the recommendation of Burr, secretary to 
the territory of Louisiana, of which I was the governor. 
Colonel Burr could not have thought, the subject on 
which we were then corresponding, required any mystery 
or secrcsy; for, in this letter, he thus complains of the 
cypher: " Why (says he) put such a tax on the 

PLEASURE OF YOUR CORRESPONDENCE ?" 

Before I leave this part of the subject, it becomes 
me to notice the testimony, of the same Mr. Simmon?, 
given on his examination before this court. His conver- 
sation with me, relative to the canal is again repeated by 
Jiim, but with such amendments and additions, as were 
calculated, in his opinion, to tarnish my honour and 
affect my life. In answer to these ingenious calculations SImmons's 
of the accountant, I have only to call the attention of the before the 
court to the letters,* produced by him, before the com- *^°"'"'^ ?"*^ 

* *^ commit- 

mittce of Congress of which Mr. Bacon was chairman, tee of Con- 
which speak a language too intelligible to be misunder- ^''ess.coii- 
stood. You will perceive, that in my letter, / caution 
him against engaging too rashly in the scheme, invite him 
to settle at St. Louis, in my government ; and tell him « Ge- 
neral Dayton 07i the spot is best able to advise him:^' and 
General Dayton, in his letter to him, of June 2d, 1805, 
says, *•' / have yielded to the urgent stih'tciiations of Mr. 
Browne, General Wilkinson, Hovey and others, who have 
written to me from Jeffersonrille, and have determined to 
visit the rapids, in about fifteen or twenty days, when I 
shall be better able to consider the whole subject, its import- 
ance and advantages.'' Now, if there was any thing of 
conspiracy or disaffection to the government, in the mys- 
i crious hints, to which the witness has sworn, and about 

* See Third Report Committee of Congress, page 496~50?, 



276 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, which, as well as the canal, he says, I promised to write 
^^"' to him; I would ask, if there is, or was, at the Falls of 
the Ohio, any thing which could make it so peculiarly 
fitted, for plots and conspiracies ? Why would General 
Dayton " be better able to consider the whole subject at that 
place?^' Why should I think him, *< best able to advise on 
that spot" if the ohject to be accomplished was the dis- 
memhenuent of the union or the invasion of Mexico? 
What were the privik\2;os expected to he obtained, with 
the charter for cutting- the canal, from which the compa- 
ny were to derive so much emolument, it cannot now be 
necessary to detail ; Mr. Simmons, swears, that at the 
time of the conversation, he considered the mysterious 
ohject, so ohsrurcly and yet so cmphaticall}' spoken of by 
General Wilkinson, to be connected with the canal. It 
is not pretended that any attempt was made by myself, 
or by any other person, to gain him to the conspiracy. 
It is in proof, that I advised him not to take any step in 
the business, about which I conversed with him, before 
he had, "thorougitiy examined the grotjkd before 
him;" if therefore, these mysterious hints alluded to 
Burr's conspiracy, as the w itncss would now have us be- 
lieve, I must have made the communication, merely to 
awaken suspicion in an ofliccr of the government, against 
which I was conspiring ; or for the purpose of enabling 
Mr. Simmons, at some future day, to inculpate me by hi^ 
testimony. 

But, Mr. President, I ought not to delay the court, with 
the idle tales, of this most malevolent witness; What 
faith is to be given to his present representations, when 
we find in the testimony before you, that long after this 

• conversation, in his first examination before a committee 

of Congress, on the 13th of April, 1810,* he deposed as 
follows ? <- In relation to ant concern which he 
(Wilkinson) might have had in the Burr busi- 
ness, THE ONLY information THAT HAS COMB TO MY 



* See First Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Butler chairman, 
page 159—160. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S77 

KNOWLEDGE, IS IN THE DISBURSEMENT OF PUBLIC MO- CHAP. 

NiEs, drawn from the public agents at JVew Orleans^ in 
the year 1807, for tJie freight of vessels f chartered by him, 
to transport prisoners and 7vitnesses from J\T?w Orleans to 
the seat of government ; and sundry advances to witnesses^ 
fees to lawyers, Sfc; said to be incurred by the conspiracy 
of Jiaron Burr; which disbursements, as well as others, to 
a considerable amount, were paid by warrants immediately 
from this department, drawn by the former secretary of 
war, for sundry objects of the like nature, and for which 
there was no specific appropriation, to which I could charge 
those expenditures. I was therefore, unable to credit the 
agents, or enlcr the account to any head of expenditure, 
until the 29th JVovember, 1809; when, the present secretary 
of war, to enable me to enter the account, directed, that as 
tlie disbursements had been made by virtue of orders from 
the department of war, in the years 1806 and 1807, that 
they were chargeable to the contingent fund of the war de- 
partment; there being no other head of expenditure to which 
they could be properly charged. I have accordingly entered 
the account, and can give no other information on 

THIS SUBJECT." 

This, according to the oath of Mr. Simmons at that 
time, was the o)ily information that had then come to his 
knowledge, in relation to any concern I might have had 
in the Burr husiness, and he could give no other infor- 
mation on that subject. Had he then forgotten the mys- 
terious conversation, and the letter before mentioned, 
which, he afterwards produced, on his examination be- 
fore the other committee of Congress, in January, 1811? 
No, Sir, he tells you he had not ; He well remembered if. 
One part of the question put to him by the committee 
was, " Had he any knowledge of the conduct of Briga- 
dier-general James Wilkinson, in relation to his having 
at any time, whilst in the service of the United States, 
been an accomplice, or in any way concerned witli Aaron 
Burr, in a project against the dominions of the King of 
Spain, or to dismember these United States?" His an- 
swers, to this and to the other questions proposed to him 



378 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, by the committee, were not made in haste, hut on due 
^ '"■ deliberation ; he took, by his own account, about a week 
to prepare his deposition. How came he then to swear, 
he knew nothing more on this subject, than is stated in 
the deposition of 13th April, 1810, before quoted? Attend, 
I beseech you, to the reason which ho has assigned, in 
his own words, *< I considered that private liET- 

TERS OUGHT TO BE HELD SACRED, UNLESS THET WERE 
DRAWN FROM ME, IN THE WAY THESE WERE, BY GE- 
NERAL Wilkinson's sixth question,* before Bacon's 
committee." Excellent casuist ! most credible witness ! 
Private correspondence, it seems, is more holy, than the 
solemn appeal to Heaven, by which, he attested the truth 
of his deposition. lie had further information to give, 
yet swore he had not, because, forsooth, he held private 
correspondence to be a sacred thing! Mr. Simmons im- 
proves in the trade of affidavit-making. A year ago, he 



* " Question 6th. — (By General Wilkinson put to Mr. Simmons.) — 
Had you ever any knowledge of a project for cutting a canal at the 
Tails of the Ohio, by General Hovey and a body of associates ? were 
you not invited to take a share in it? did you not mention the circum- 
stance to General Wilkinson, and ask his advice? and did he not ad- 
vise you by letters from the Falls of Ohio to have nothing to do with 
it? Did you not understand that Colonel Burr, General Dayton, and 
General Wilkinson were concerned in this project? 

" Answer. — The first intimation I ever had of any project for cutting 
a canal on the Ohio, was from a letter I received from General Jona- 
than Dayton, dated at Cincinnati, Ohio, March the 31st, 1805, a copy 
is herewith, No. 9. — At the time, or soon after, that I received this 
letter. General Wilkinson happened to be at my office : I handed him 
the letter, when he observed, that he was acquainted with the plan in 
contemplation; that he was himself one of the party, and that Colonel 
Burr, General Dayton and others, were concerned, in this project; 
and that he would write to me fully on tlie subject when he got to the 
Falls of the Ohio. The only letter I received from General Wilkin- 
son on the subject, is dated Massac, July 15, 1805; a copy is herewith. 
No. 11, and a copy of the letter from General Dayton to me in answer 
■to mine of the 20th April, 1805, is herewith, No. 12. This correspon- 
dence is all that I know or had to do with the project for cutting- a 
i-aiial at the Fulls of the Ohio, never having conversed with General 
Dayton on the subject, or ever seen him since he wrote to me the let- 
'crs above alluded to." 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S79 

was but a youngling in the flock of false witnesses, chap. 
and was content to slander me for tlie misapplication of ^^"' 
oats, and corn, and hay, and the provisionsof the army; 
but now he unblushingly charges me with conspiracy 
and treason. 

I turn, Mr. President, with disgust from this picture 
of depravity, and call the attention of the court to the 
testimony of Captain Peter, which proves my full belief, 
that Colonel Burr was seriously engaged, in the canal 
scheme. The time, the manner, and the circumstances 
attending the conversation, narrated by Captain Peter, 
so fully and faithfully disclose my impressions and feel- 
ings at the moment, that I must beg leave to read that 
part of his deposition.* It will be remembered, that the 
i'onversation to rvhicfi Captain Peter deposest took place 
in the summer of 1805, after that stated by Simmons, 
and when I was proceeding to St. Louis, to enter on my 
duties as g )vernor of Louisiana. 

It is then conclusively proved, Mr. President, that in 
the spring and summer of 1805, it was my firm belief, 
that Colonel Bun* intended, to settle himself in the west- 
ern country, and that he was earnestly engaged in projects, 
the successful issue of which, depended altogether upon the 
continuation of the union of these states. I repeat, that I 
was, at tiiat time, the friend of Colonel Burr, and wish- 
ed to render him every service in my power. I shall now 
proceed to shew, in what manner I manifested my friend- 
ship for him J and I do this, to explain the true meaning 
of those expressions, in my letters, to which my enemies 
endeavour to give the aspect of treason and conspiracy. 

The public sentiment, had ascribed to Colonel Burr 
eminent talents and qualifications; 1 considered him still 
a patriot, though highly discontented and mortified : and 
that he had both the ability and the inclination, to render 
efficient services to his country, in any station to which 
he might be called. 

* See Appendix, No. LXVII— Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr Bacon chuirman. page 505, 6. 



280 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. The deposition^ of Colonel Matthew Lyon proves, that in 
^'^*" the winter of 1805, while Burr and myself were both in 
the city of Washington, so far from plotting with him, 
any unlawful enterprise in the western country, I anxious- 
ly wished him to be appointed to some foreign embassy: 
and when it was found, this could not be effected, 1 en- 
tered warmly into a plan for procuring him a seat in the 
councils of the nation. In this plan. Colonel Burr ap- 
peared heartily to join us. My views on this subject, 
and the measures taken to effect his election, are fully 
disclosed in the deposition of Colonel Lyon. 

In our journey to the Mest, it is worthy of remark, 
that Colonel Burr and myself had no interview, until I 
arrived at Massac ; as appears by the deposition of Cap- 
tain Peter.f and Burr's letters]: of April 10th and 30th. 
and May 19th, 1805; and none of those letters contain a 
word like conspiracy between us. Indeed, he hastened 
liis departure from Pittsburgh, a day before the time he 
had appointed to see me there; thus manifesting, by his 
conduct, that an interview between us, was not deemed a 
matter of serious concern. In his letter of April 10th, 
he named the first of May as the time, to which he would 
wait my arrival at Pittsburgh; but he left that place on 
the 30th April, although he expected I should arrive 
there on the succeeding day. He proceeded to Nash- 
ville, as I believed, for the purpose of promoting hiS elec- 
tion to Congress; and finding his prospects in Tennessee, 
less flattering than he expected, he turnet^ his attention to 
New Orleans, in the hope of being made the delegate 
from that territory. These facts are established by the 
deposition of Colonel Lyon, to which I have referred. 

Colonel Burr and myself met at Massac, in the man- 
ner stated by Captain Hughes ;§ and this meeting was not 

* See Appendix, No. LXVIII. — Third Report Committee of Con- 
g-ross, Mr. Bacon chairman, pag-e 334 — 341. 

f See page 279, ante. % See Appendix, No. LXIX. 

§ See Appendix, No. LXX. — Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 303—308. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 281 

the result of any previous concert between Colonel Burr CHAP, 
and myself, but was occasioned by his detention at Nash- ^ ^'^' 
ville, which was wholly unexpected to him. For in his 
letter of May 19th,* written about the time of his depar- 
ture from Louisville, he says, " the letters I had expect- 
ed from you, may now he addressed to Oilcans;" and in 
the same letter he exj)resscs, in a friendly w^ay, his re- 
grot at not seeing me, and his hope of meeting' me in the 
autimm. at St. Louis. Every rational and candid man 
must sec, at once, tliat the letters to be addressed to New 
Orleans, were, nothing more than, ordinary letters of in- 
troiluction to my friends in that city and its vicinity; fop 
if they had been intended to contain, matters of such 
high import, as treason or conspiracy, surely Colonel 
Burr would have waited one jl^iy fur an interview with 
me, in order to prepare them with proper discretion, and 
to receive them without hazard. He would not have 
been willing to visit Orleans, without his credentials, and 
there waste liis time, and delay his operations, until the 
mail, or some other more precarious mode of conveyangc, 
siiould bring him the important treasonable budget. 

When I met with Colonel Burr at Massac, he had but 
little hope of success in Tennessee, as may be seen by Burr 
the deposition of Colonel Lyon, but believed he miirht be ^^^"^^^ 

* -' ' o his plan 

returned from New Orleans. It may readily be con- of election 
ceived, that Colonel Burr communicated, his fears and gre^s.from 
his expectations on this subject to me; as I had, in con- Tennessee 
junction with Colonel Lyon, suggested to him the plan of odeans. 
election in Tennessee — He certainly did so; and it then 
became necessary on my part, to give him something 
more than letters of mere introduction, as I earnestly 
wished his election, and thought it in my power, to aid him 
effectually in New Orleans. 1 forbear. Sir, as it is not, 
from the nature of the transaction, susceptible of proof, 
to remark on that part of his electioneering plan, which 
liad for its object, the removal of Governor Claibcrne 
from office; who was known to have many enemies in 

* See Appendix, No. LXIX. 

VOL. ir. N n 



^83 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. New Orleans, and, among the ninnbcr, Daniel Clark wa.^ 
^^^^' not the least distinguished, for the rancour of his hosti- 
lity. It was believed that these men, would most zea- 
lously support the election of Burr, if assured of his aid, 
in displacing the officer they wished to be removed. The 
letter* I wrote on this occasion, and for this purpose, to 
Daniel Clark, is brought forward to convict me of a 
participation in the conspiracy. Iji this letter, after in- 
troducing Colonel Burr and speaking of him, as I then 
thought he deserved; I added, «< To him I refer you for 
many things improper to letter, and which he will not say 
to any other;'' and this expression is now relied on, as 
proof of my guilt. Mr. President, after the narrative 
I have already given, can any unprejudiced mind be- 
lieve, the expression just quoted, if it stood alone, alluded 
to anything but Burr's views to his election? I was 
then writing to one of the most important men of the ter- 
ritory, and a most vehement opponent of Governor Clai- 
borne; and I endeavoured to preserve, as it became me 
to do, a proper delicacy towards Colonel Burr, who was 
to be the beai'er of the letter, and who would, no doubt, 
have preferred the appearance, of yielding to solicita- 
tions to become their delegate, instead of sueing for the 
appointment; and it would have been indecorous in me, 
to proffer terms and conditions, to the voters of the ter- 
ritory, in behalf of Colonel Burr, to induce them to sup- 
port his views. But let me be judged by the letter itself. 
General and not by scraps cut out to criminate me. In the very 
Wilkinson ^^ sentence, I say, " / shall be at St. Louis in two 

proposes a ^ j ^ 

commer- weeks, and if you were there we could open a mine — a 
commercial one at least." Now, amidst all the acts of 
folly and madness, imputed to me by my enemies, it is 
impossible they can believe, that I could seek to enter 
into extensive commercial speculations, at the moment 
when I knew a civil war was about to commence; or, 
that I could be frantic enough, to suppose any commer- 



cial enter 
prise to 
Daniel 
Clark. 



* See Appendix, No. LXXl.— First Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Butler chairman, p. 156.. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. g83 

cial adventure could become profitable at St. Louis, CHAP. 



amidst the scenes of violence and tumult, which must 
have ensued an attempt to dissever the union; — and, if 
the conspiracy was intended for an expedition against 
Mexico, it is equally incredible, that I should desire to 
have my funds, and tiiose of my friends, scattered and 
entangled, in commercial arrangements at St. Louis, 
when they would all have been needed, in equipping the 
expedition; and when, too, that act of infidelity to my 
country, would instantly and forever, have banished me 
from the scene of our commercial speculations. 

It is, fortunately, in my power to show, by the testi- 
mony of Mr. Clark, in his own hand writing, that my 
commercial designs, alluded to in his letter, had a real 
existence, and a fixed and legitimate object; and were in 
no way connected, with the separation of the states or art 
expedition to Mexico. For it appears from Mr. Clark's 
letter to me, of the 17th Jai: 1806,* that in a letter to 
him of Sept. 14th, 1805, I had more fully and particH- 
larly, opened to him my commercial views, and wished 
him to engage in the fur trade at St. Louis. It is too 
absurd, for a moment's consideration, to charge me with 
the attempt, to engage Mr. Clark in the vast objects of 
Burr's conspiracy, and at the same instant, to propose 
to him an extensive establishment in the north-western 
fur trade, which could hardly have been carried into ope- 
ration, before it would have been completely deranged, 
by the effects of such conspiracy. 

Colonel Burr, on his arrival at New Orleans, became 
acquainted with the old Mexican association,! and findr 

' See Appendix, No. LXXII. 

\ Extract from the deposition of Lieutenant Spence. 

" Question. When in New Orleans, did you hear any thing of a 
club, or association, for the invasion of Mexico ? 

" Answer. I did understand that there had been, for several years, 
a club called the Mexican association, which had been formed for 
iome years, for the purpose of discussing the means of emancipating 



viir. 



284j memoirs by 

CFiAP, ing Daniel Clark leagued in it, had the address to iii- 
^ "^' duce him to hclieve, that I, toj^ether with the army, 
would he ready to unite in the expedition ; and, in order 
to give spirit and vigour to the conspirators, persuaded 
Mr. Clark, tliat the ohscure expression in my letter, had 
reference to the plan of invading Mexico. Tiiis, I be- 
lieve was the case, and that this device, of Colonel Bun-, 
excited Mr. Clark to write me the letter of Sept. Zth, 
1805.* 

He was not willing to hazard his own safety, by con- 
fiding entirely in Colonel Burr's statements, and wi'cte 
this letter for the purpose of sounding me, and ascertain- 
ing the truth of Burr's communication ; by the affectation 
of levity in one plat e, and the air of apparent earnestness 
which he assumes in another, when writing of Ids land 
titles, he supposed if Burr had deceived iiim, lie would 
screen himself from suspicion; and if I was really dis- 
posed to join in the expeditif-n, my answer would not fail 
to betray my inclination. The opinion 1 have before ex- 
Clark's pressed is confirmed, past doubt, by Clark's next letterf 

letier of ^^ ^^^ dated April 14th, 1806, before he had received my 
14th April y 1 ' •/ 

1806, lo answer to the former. In this letter it will be found, 
S^fjfl'^^ Mr. Clark more distinctly hints at the design, and more 
son. perceptibly betrays his hopes of co-operation. The em- 

phasis laid in the original, on the underscored phrases 
*i land of pivmise,*' and his «' interchange of useful infor- 
mation,''* with the Mexicans, renders it evident, that 

Mexico. I heard it spoken of by many persons. I recollect mention- 
ing this association to Colonel Burr. 

" Question. Did he enquire about it in the first instance, or did 
you mention it ? 

" Answer. 1 think) I first mentioned it to him. 

" Question. Did he spciik of it, as a thing' before known to him ? 

•' Jlns-iuer. He did. He said that he had been solicited lo become 
a member, but hiul disclaimed having any thing to do with it." — 
Third Keport Committee of Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, p. 314. 

* See Appendix, No. XXXIH.— Third lieport Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, p. 475. 

t See Appendix, No, LXXIII.— Williinson's Defence, p. 83, 84, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. §85 

somethine more was meant by Mr. Clark, than would chap. 

VITT 

be inidoi'stood by any one unacquainted with the scheme, 
and ignorant of the existence of the conspiracy; and 
this useful information, it seems, Mr. Clark wished to 
communi( ate to me. 

Although subsequent events have now laid bare Clark's 
intrigues, to the eyes of every observer, his inuendoes 
could not, at that time, be understood, but by those ini- 
tiated in the plot, and were therefore lost upon me. My 
letter of March 8th, 1806,* which was written between General 
five and six months after Burr's visit to me at St. Louis, g^^.^ |gj_ 
clearly manifests my belief, that the story of Burr and ter to Da- 
his conspiracy, w as a " tale of a tub,^' and unworthy of March 8ih 
attention. This letter is in answer to that of Clark's, 1806. 
dated Sept. rth, 1805, and shews, that I then considered 
that part of it which related to his land titles, the only 
circumstance worthy attention, wijich it embraced j for 
almost the whole of my letter, is taken up with that sub- 
ject, and manifests, that I was laboriously employed, in 
my endeavours to sectire those titles for him. If I had 
believed the country was soon to be severed from the 
union, and pass under the dominion of men, acknow- 
ledging no law, but what tlieip own interest or ambition, 
presrribed; I could not have supposed, the admission of 
Mr. Clark's disputed land titles, by the United States, to 
be worth half the labour I had bestowed upon them. 

The reception of this letter, convinced Mr. Clark of 
my fidelity to my government, and that any impressions 
he had received to the contrary, were founded in decep- 
tion ; it seems als(3 to have filled him with alarm, lest he 
had, in the ardour of his communications to me, gone so 
far, as to excite my suspicions, and discover his ambi- 
tious designs. In proof of this, I offer his letterf to me, 
of June 16tii, 1806, written in a style most conciliatory 
and flattering j begging my advice for his government, 

* See Appendix, No. LXXIV.— Third Report Committee of Coa- 
pfress, Air. Bacon chairman, page 477- 
j See Appendix, No. LXXV. 



286 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, in the political course which he had just entered on, and 
^"'' appearing to give himself up, to my counsel and direc- 
tion. 

The i'good cause^" of which, Mr. Clark speaks in this 
letter, has reference, obviously, to his opposition to Go- 
vernor Claiborne, whicli I have before mentioned, in my 
remarks on my letter by Colonel Burr. It is notorious, 
that at the time this letter of Clark's was written, and 
for some time before. Governor Claiborne and myself, 
were hostile to each other; and I should then have been 
pleased, to have seen him removed from the office he fill- 
ed. But it is here proper to observe, that our differences 
were entirely reconciled, at the house of a Colonel Ful- 
ton, near the Rapids of the Red River, in September, 
Amicable 1806. In the friendly explanation which then took place, 
tionotGo- 1 discovered that the very men, who sought to embroil 
vernor ^q viith the Govemor, were, at the same time, perfi- 

Claiborne ,. , . . , , 

and Gene- diously repeating my conveisations, and exposing my 

ral Wil- correspondence to him, whenever an irritatina: exnres- 
kinson. . , , , , n o i 

sion, could be drawn from me. 

In proof of the continued, and unabated faith of Mr. 
Clark, in my integrity and patriotism, (whatever he may 
DOW find it convenient to say, or to swear to the contra- 
ry) I adduce his letters to me* of October 2rf, 1806, and of 
February 22rf, 1807, which bear testimony to his confi- 
dence in language that requires no comment. 

It would be in vain, for my accusers to assert, that 
Clark-s letter of September 7, 1805, was written, under 
suspicions of my fidelity to the government, and design- 
ed, merely, from patriotic motives, to extract the secret, 
in order that he might warn the country of its danger. 
Because the letter itself shews, that he was just embark- 
ing on a distant commercial enterprise ; which, he knew 
would necessarily occasion an absence of many months, 
and prevent his hearing from me till he returned. To 
these proofs of the integrity of my motives and conduct, 

* See Appendix, No. I.XXVi. — Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 478. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^Sy 

•it is proper to add, Colonel Burr's letter* to me of July chap. 
oOth, 1805, immediately after his visit to Orleans; writ- ^ "*" 
ten in the careless, easy language of friendship, and 
without any mysterious expression, on which the strong- 
est malevolence can raise suspicion. In this letter, if an 
opportunity offered from Nashville or Lexington, he pro- 
mised to detail, "the incidents of his three weeks visit to 
New Orleans j*' incidents certainly not improper to be 
wi'itten, as far as I was to be informed, because he pro- 
raises to write them; and certainly not treasonable or 
criminal, or he would not have been so willing to write 
them; "if some occasion," as he expresses it, "should 
offer from Lexington or Nashville." I could not sup- 
pose, these incidents related to any tiling, but his elec- 
tioneering project, in which he knew I took a warm in- 
terest, and the fate of which he knew, I was anxious to 
learn. 

If I could stoop to owe any part of my vindication, to 
such a wretch, as Thomas Power, I might here strength- 
en the argument, I have just used, by the proof he has 
furnished, if, indeed, his oath should be received in any 
case. He has voyaged from New Orleans to this place, 
in the hope of convicting me by his testimony, and no 
doubt, expected what he said on tlds subject, as well as 
on other points, was calculated to effect his purpose. But 
if the contents of the letter of introduction, Burr cai'ried 



* Ferry of Tennessee River, July 30, 1805. 

" My Dear General, 

" Parting, unexpectedly, at this place with Captain Bissel, who had. 
intended to go on with me at Nashville, I can only say Bon jour. I 
am on my way to Lexington, and hope before 1st September, to take 
yovi by your hand at your palace. Till then, unless some occasion 
ihould offer from Lexington, or Nashville, I must reserve the plea- 
sure of detailing the incidents of my three weeks visit, to New Or- 
leans. You are remembered there with affection, and regret. Hav- 
ing heard nothing from Secretary Browne, I cannot suppose that he is 
yet with you. 

*' Most affaf;tionately and faithfully, 
<« Yours, 
(Signed) «'A. BUBR." 



288 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, from me to Gilbert Leonard (who is allied by marriage 
^'"' to one of the most opulent families in tlic country), were 
such as Power has stated, it would most clearly demon- 
strate, that my impressions of Burr's designs in New 
Orleans, were such as I have already insisted on ; and 
tliat tlje prospect of remoxing, an unpopular Governor, 
was believed^ by me, to be a powerful mean of promoting 
his election. Nothing could more fully prove, that 1, at 
that time, had no knowledge of Burr's conspiracy, and 
that I intended in the letters, I gave iiim, meiely to aid 
his scheme of election. But I can receive no aid, from 
the testimony of Tliomas Power, and therefore sliall rest 
my defence, on tins point, on the giound I had before 
taken. 
J.etter to The letter to General Adair, dated, « Rapids of Ohio, 
Adatr^ May 28th, i805," is also adduced as evidence against 
from Ge- me. This letter is prior, to some of the papers and in- 
iinson. cidents, on which I have already remarked ; but it has 
been my desire, to present a connected view of my inter- 
course with Colonel Burr, from the period of his depar- 
ture from the city of Washington, to that of his return 
from New Orleans : I will now proceed, to examine 
such parts* of this letter, as appear to bear on this en- 
quiry, and slijvll account for my acquaintance with Gene- 
ral Adair. 

It will be remembered, that in the year 1805, we were 
disputing with Spain, as we still are, about the true 
bound.irii'S of Louisiana, which we had recently purchas- 
ed from France ; and many of the best informed pf)liti- 



* Kxtract of a letter from General Wilkinson to General Adair, 
dated Rupids of Ohio, May 28tli, 1805. 

" I was to have introduced my friend Burr to you, but in this I fail- 
ed by accidf-nt ; he understands your merits and reckons on you. 
Prepare to visit me and 1 will tell you all. We must ha%e a peep at 
the unknown world beyond me. I shall want a pair of strong- carriage 
horses, at about §120 eacli, young and sound, substantial but not 
flashy. 

"PS. — Write me private." 

See First Report Committee of Congress, page 156. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. g89 

fiaus in the country, expected our disputes would be de- chap, 
cided by the sword. I thought highly of the military ^''*' 
talents of General Adair, who had served under me ; I lestimo- 
had palronized and employed him, during the Indian ni^iis in 
war, and Jiis conduct gave me such satisfaction, that I General 
had warmly recommended him, to the government for a Adair. 
commission. In proof of which, I beg leave to introduce, 
the following extracts of my letters, to Doctor M<Henry, 
secretary of war, in the General's favour, hearing date, 
June 10th, 1797, and July 24th, 1803. In the first of 
whicli, I thus expressed myself : " I think that the ap- 
pointment, and levy of a regiment in Kentucky, wouid 
produce happy consequences, in such case General Adair 
should have the command, he is a man of military soul." 
And the last is conceived in the following terms : " Of 
all tlie military officers in Kentucky, General Adair has 
greatly the advantage, — he is moulded by nature for mi- 
litary life ; but is a Major-general, and should we ever 
act together, you must give me a brevet, or he will claim 
the command, though he h s frequently served under 
me, once as my aid de camp."* These testimonials 
shew, that in the event of a war, I was desirous General 
Adair should hold a distinguished command under me. I 
was in habits of great intimacy with him, and considered 
liim my friend. He was known, to have many friends 
in Tennessee, and supposed to possess influence in that 
state, which might be exerted with some effect, in favour 
of Colonel Burr's election te Congress. With this view. Colonel 
as I believed, at the time, Burr in his letter to me, of ^"J^"J^^ 
March 26, 1805, from Philadelphia, requested a letter to letter of 
Adair, in the following terms : *^ a letter to Aduir would J'^^^to '^' 
be acceptable." In this place permit me to remark, that Genera! 
the circumstance of Colonel Burr's asking for this letter, 
after he left Washington, is conclusive proof, that we had 
made no arrangements, while there, concei-ning the let- 

* Tliese extracts are certified by Ninian Pinkney, then a Captain 
la the first regiment of infantry, and now a Lieutenant-colonel in the 
second regiment. 

VOL. II. O o 



S90 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, ters I had promised him to my friends in the west ; and 
^^^'' the terms in which this letter to Adair is requested, prove, 
that Colonel Burr desired it as a personal favour to him- 
self, and not to promote an object, in which we were jointly 
interested. He docs not say, that the letter would be 
*i advantageous y'^ or might *' promote our views,''' or in 
any shape convey the idea, that I had any interest in the 
effect, the letter to Adair might produce ; but he says, 
the letter would " be acceptable ;'* or in other words, a fa- 
vour conferred upon him. 

Expecting to meet Colonel Burr at Pittsburgh, I did 
not furnish him the letter, for Adair, which he had re- 
quested. In this expectation I was disappointed, in the 
manner already stated j and receiving, on my arrival at 
the Falls of Ohio, Burr's letter of May 19th, (already 
noticed) which he had left there some days before; I dis- 
covered, that I should not have an opportunity, of making 
him the bearer of a letter of introduction to Adair. It is 
not, Mr. President, my habit to neglect my friends, when 
I think I have the power to serve them. I had no rea- 
son, at the time I am speaking of, to suppose, Burr's 
prospects in Tennessee, less flattering than he had ex- 
pected to find them. He had asked me for a letter to 
Adair, and being desirous to promote his election to Con- 
gress, by all the means in my power, I wrote that wliich 
Wilkin- we are now discussing. It was to the election I certain- 
son's let- ly alluded, when I said to Adair, « Colond Burr under- 
let to 
Adair, stands ijour merits, and reckons on you,''' that is, on the 

examined political standing of Adair, and the exertion of his in- 
plained, fluence, in support of his (Burr's) election; and this was 
the chief design of the letter in question. But writing, 
as I then did, to a man of my confidence, and under the 
impression, I before stated, that a war would soon take 
place with Spain, and that this man, would, in that event, 
hold a distinguished command, in the forces of the United 
States, I added, ** prepare to visit me, and I will tell you 
ail; We must have a peep at the unknown world beyond 
me.'' But because these expressions, are immediately 
connected with Burr, my accusers insist that they must 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S91 

relate to his meditated conspiracy. They might as well chap. 
say, that the language which immediately follows, viz. ,^^,^J^ 
<* / 7vant a pair of strong carriage Iwrsts, at about S 120 
eachf young and sound, substantial, but notjlashy,'* relates 
to tlie same subject, and that I wanted these horses, to 
drag my carriage through the wilderness, when I should 
march to invade Mexico, at the head of the conspirators. 
Tlic fact is, the letter was written in hasten for I tell him 
in the postscript, ^'^ I shall sail in an hour;" and different 
subjects were alluded to in a few words, and follow each 
other in rapid succession, as evidently appears by the 
whole contents of the letter. As to the words in the post- 
script, « write me private," if any argument is intended 
to be drawn from them against me, it is fully answered 
by barely remarking, that I filled the office, of Governor 
of Louisiana, and was just about entering upon the duties 
of the station, and that it was to prevent, the private let- 
ters of my friends, from being opened in my absence, by 
the secretary of the territory. The precaution suggest- 
ed to General Adair, is known to be universally prac- 
tised, in the correspondence of men holding official situa- 
tions, similar to that, in which, I was then placed. It 
must also be recollected, that the letter was written, at 
the very moment, when Captain Peter proves, I was 
eagerly engaged in the canal scheme, from which, I was 
fondly flattering myself, with the hopes of an ample for- 
tune ; written, too, from the very spot itself, and, at a 
time, when I had just obtained a profitable and honoura- 
ble civil office, in addition to my military appointment. 
Let any honest and reasonable man, lay his hand upon 
his heart, and say whether such a letter written under 
such circumstances, could have any criminal design. 

But, Mr. President, I have conclusive evidence, that 
the meaning and objects of this letter were entirely inno- 
cent. The letters of Adair, himself, to me, of Dec. 31st, 
1805, Jan. 27th, and April 17th, 1806,* all written long 

* See Appendix, No. LXXVII.— Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. BsicoD chairman, page 342—345. 



S98 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, after the letter under consideration, furnish this proof 

^^'^' unequivocally. These letters go far to ascertain, what 

Adair's ^*^^ never heen doubted by any candid man in possession 

correspon-of facts, that Adair was connected with Burr in his si- 

shewtne- "'ster project; and understanding my letter to him, in 

his con- the manner I have explained it, and being sensible of the 

with Burr. '"^^S^'i^y ^^^ ^7 principles, he cautiously concealed the 

plot from me. But whether Adair, was or was not con 

cerncd with B«nn', it is certain that my letter to him, and 

his subsequent interview with Burr, did not criminate 

me in his opinion. And after Burr's conversation at St. 

Louis, had shaken my own confidence in him, Adair, iu 

his letter to me of Jan. 27th, 1806,* in answering my 

enquiries, as to the real object of Burr's visit to the 

western country, makes no allusion to the letter of May, 

1805, now produced to criminate me; nor does he use 

any language, indicating his belief, that I was privy to 

Burr's views; but tells me, as he would a perfect stranj^er 

to the subject, that Burr's visit to the western country, 

was <« ONLY TO AVOID A PROSECUTION IN NeW YoRK." 

It will not. Sir, be forgotten, that this letter from Adair, 
was written after Burr had returned to the Atlantic 
states, and after Adair had seen him ; therefore, if my 
letter had alluded, to any previous conspiracy between 
Burr and myself, Adair possessed a full opportunity for 
explanation. The letters to Clark and Adair, wliich 
have been adduced in testimony against me, were writ- 
ten on my journey to St. Louis, the place of my resi- 
dence, as governor of the territory «f Louisiana. 
Major I called at Kaskaskias, in my route to St. Louis, about 

S.Hunt's ^jjp 2g^j ^^ j^ jgQ2 J Major Seth Hunt, in corn- 
romance. ' ' , Ml 

pany with several gentlemen of that village, attended me 
to the river Mississippi, a distance of tlin?e or four 
miles ; and this unexpected courtesy, furnished the Major 
with an opportunity, for the invention of a most silly 
and malicious tale. Were I to admit his testimony to be 
true, what does it establish? If, I had at that period con- 

* See Appendix, No. LXXYII, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 293 

templated some scheme, by which I believed fortunes chap. 
were to be made, and had assured Major Hunt, « that ^l^^h, 
the situation was a distant one, fnll of danger, requiring 
enterprise, hut if successful, fill of fortune and glory," as 
he has, with a brazen face and seared conscience, sworn 
before this court; would it follow, that this scheme was 
an unlawful one, or in any way connected with the con- 
spiracy of Colonel Burr? on the contrary, might it not 
be a fair and honourable object, at which I hinted? 
Might it not relate to the fur trade of the north-west, 
which occupied my attention, as my correspondence with 
Daniel Clark will prove? or the exploration of the inte- 
rior of the territory, bordering on the Mexican pro- 
vinces, as I had been ordered to do? both of which were 
considered the avenues to wealth, and have since actually 
attracted the enterprise, of individuals and of compa- 
nies. The Major was a young man, whom I had never 
before seen; yet, no injunction of scrresy was imposed on 
liim — no wish for concealment expressed, as appears from 
his examination before this court. Such conduct on my 
part, manifests incontestibly, that no fear of discovery 
was felt, and of course, no consciousness of a sinister de- 
sign existed. It is evident, from the testimony of Co- 
lonel M<Kee, on which I shall presently remark, that I 
did calculate on a war, between the United States and 
Spain about that time; and, in such event, I thought it 
probable, that I should lead an expedition against Mexi- 
co, under the orders of my government. If, therefore, 
the observations imputed to me, by Major Hunt, were 
made by me, they probably emanated from those impres- 
sions. But, Sir, I have no recollection of this conversa- 
tion, and therefore cannot admit or believe that it oc- 
curred, merely because Major Hunt swears to it. He 
has been proved, before this court by Major Russell and 
Captain Taylor, to be my most bitter and malignant 
enemy; and, so late as the year 1808, to have declared in Major 
the presence of Captain Taylor, " that he had been so ill H""\'? ^^- 

* I .r ' claration 

treated by me, that he felt himself at liberty to abuse me as by Captain 
much as he pleased;" and, is it reasonable to believe^ that Baylor. 



g94< MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, with such violent 'prejudices on his mind, his malignity 

^^'^ could be restrained by t'le bond of an oath ? or, should 

he be credited, after it has been made manifest to the 

court, by the testimony of Captain Hughes, an officer of 

Major distinguished honour, that Major Seth Hunt, was 

character ^lENERALLY REPORTED AT St. LoUIS, (WHERE HE 

by Capt. WAS WEUL KNOWn) TO BE <' DESTITUTE OF PRINCIPLE, 

"S^*^^- HONOUR, AND INTEGRITY?" I QUOTE THE VERT WORDS 

or Captain Hughes.* When Major Hunt is found to 
be thus malignant, and, at the same time, thus « desti- 
tute of principle, honor AND INTEGRITY," Can any 
candid person put faith in his testimony? For what se- 
curity can we liave, that Major Hunt was not exercising, 
before this court, the right he claimed, in the presence 
of Captain Taylor- — « to abuse me as 3iuch as he 

PLEASED." 

I must solicit the court to bear in mind, that Major 
Hunt represents he endeavoured in vain, to extract from 
me the secret. He pressed me, but I refused to be more 
explicit, alleging that my plans were not sufficiently ma- 
tured. This conversation took place, according to the 
Major, on the 29th of June, 1805, on my way to St. 
Louis. Contrast this testimony, I beseech you, with 
that of his sympathetic friend, Major Bruff, whose depo- 
sition! is also brought forward against me, and who met 
me on my approach to St. Louis, on the 2d of July, only 
three days after the time spoken of by Major Hunt. Al- 
though Hunt makes me say that my plans, at the time 
of my interview with him, were not matured, and de- 
clares that his pressing solicitations could draw nothing 
more from me, than the unintelligible hint, to whicli he 
has deposed ; yet acccording to Major Bruff, I was eager 
Major and impatient to divulge the secret to him. « He seem- 
fto'J.y '^ e(/," says Bruff, " to have something more to saij, but an 
officer who steered the barge sat near, and seemed to keep 
him in cJieck." And he further deposes, " when we had 

* See Append'ix, No. LXXVIIT. 

t See Third Report CoBimiitee of Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, 
p. 207. 



I 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 2QS 

landed, and -were waiting for the escort to St. Louis , I chap. 
drexv him aside, and whilcd axvay the time in idle conver- ^"^' 
sation, until the inoment the escort arrived ,• that I then ap- 
peared on the point of communicating something, when se- 
veral Frenchmen, from St. Louis, had found us out, and 
were rushing through the bushes on us. I damned the in- 
trusion,'* says Bruflf, « regretted I could not make the im- 
portant communication then, but promised to do it, when we 
got settled at St. Louis." And so impatient was [ to dis- 
close this important project to Major Bruff, tliat, agree- 
ably to his testimony, << a day or two after my arrival at 
St. Louis, I sent for him twice in one day, before and after 
dinner.*^ But, on both these occasions, instead of re- 
lieving myself from the burthen, that lay so heavy on my 
heart, I unluckily engaged him in a warm dispute about 
politics, and in the end, as the Major represents it, 
« quarrelled with him, and turned him out of the room." 
But notwithstanding these repeated disappointments, I 
was still resolved, not to be foiled in my design of making 
the « important communication ;" so well were my plans 
matured, and so completely my inclinations changed, since 
my interview with Major Hunt. Accordingly, the day 
after these quarrels, I sent again for Major Bruff, and 
after the proper preparation of «< musiiig attitudes," and 
« cast down eyes," of which the Major gives a very scenic 
representation, I approached the grand discovery and 
said, " / have now a grand scheme in contemplation, that 
will not only make mine, but the fortunes of all concerned — - 
and then paused, as if waiting the Major's reply." 

In tliis part of the story, there is perhaps some difficul- 
ty in discovering, why I should have paused for a reply, 
or what reply could have been expected; for, as I was to 
communicate, and he to listen, the nutural course would 
seem to have been, that I should talk and he should hear. 
Of this opinion was the Major : — he was silent : — but 
strange to tell! without any reply from him, I '* appear- 
ed," as the Major swears, « disappointed, vexed and agi- 
tated, while walking the floor a few turns, then threw open 
the door and walked out." So that although I had quar- 



S96 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. RELLEfi WITH HIM TWICE THE DAY BEFORE, AND TURN- 
ED HIM OUT OF THE ROOM FOR TALKING; I NOW qUAR- 
RELLED WITH HIM AND TURNED HIM OUT FOR NOT 

TALKING. In either case, the painful secret could not be 
disclosed ; Although I longed to tell it, and the Ma- 
jor wished to hear it, yet unfortunately, at one time, 

THE STEERING OFFICER ; — AT ANOTHER THE FRENCH- 
MEN RUSHING THROUGH THE BUSHES, prevented the 
communication. On two occasions it could not be told, 
because the Major talked too much; and at the fifth 
and last interview, it could not be told, because he talk 
ED TOO LITTLE J or in othcr words, becauge he lis- 
tened. 

All those long tales, of important communications and 
grand schemes, have been fabricated, Mr. President, to 
prove that I was concerned in Burr's conspiracy. And 
that I took the singular method just stated, to ingratiate 
myself with Major Bruff, to seduce him from his duty, 
and render him the fit and safe depository, of my crimi- 
nal designs. I cannot bring myself to dwell longer on 
those extraordinary depositions.* Indeed I should not 

* The reader is referred for the extraordinary testimony and depo- 
sition of Major Bruff, to Burr's Trial, page 279, and to the Report oi 
the Committee of Congress, of which Mr. Bacon was chairman, page 
205, — embracing in the former twenty printed pages quarto, and in 
the latter thirly-three pages. They are not recorded in this work 
for two reasons, viz. their gr- at length, and the rancorous spirit with 
which they teem from beginni.g to end. Such evidence was never 
before presented to a court of justice, or admitted to record by a ju- 
dicial inquest, — it is made up of opmions, conjectures, deductions, 
hearsays, personal complaints, declamation, abuse, fictions and false- 
hoods, and if admitted to credit, proves nothing more than the re- 
vengeful disposition of a most envious and malignant wretch. The 
following observation was made on Major Bruff's testimony, at the 
conclusion of his evidence before the court at Richmond, by Mr. Hay, 
the United States Attorney -general for Virginia : 

"Not a word in the long and laboured naukative of Ma job 
Bbuff, was testimony Ai'iaiCABjLK to the case." See Burr's Trial, 
page 306. — .\nd for the same reasons, and because it really exhibits 
nothing relevant to this enquiry, I dr^cline publishing the testimoHv of 
Major Seth Hunt; whose groundless charges of " il treatment from 
me," have been examined in the first volume of this work. 



I 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 297 

have tliought it worth as much notice, as it has received, chap. 
had not Major Bruff's « musing attitudes," « dowjv ^"'^* 

CAST EYES," and " GRAND SCHEME," FORMED THE GREAT 

ORIGINAL, from which William Simmons and Seth Hunt, 
appear to have borrowed their theatrical represen- 
tations OF MY attitudes, MANNERS AND CONVERSA- 
TION. This chaste, charitable and dignified trio, would 
impress the belief, that, at the several periods spoken of 
by them, I mysteriously alluded to Burr's projected con- 
spiracy, and indicated my participation in it ; and, thus, 
affect to describe, with great precision, my gestures and 
manners; as if the part assigned to me by the conspira- 
tors, was merely that, of rousing the government to vigi- 
lance and precaution, by exciting the suspicions of its of- 
ficers. For I am apprehensive I shall hardly be believed, 
when I say, that each of these three tvitnesseSf held commis- 
sions from the United States, of high trust and responsihilitij, 
at the times to which thetj respectivekj refer.'!! And what 
is still more extraordinary , no attempt appears to have 
been made by me, to corrupt either of them, after I had 
excited their curiosity and suspicion ; unless indeed, 
<• MY CAUTION TO SiMMONS," against engaging rashly 

«< IN THE MYSTERIOUS PROJECT," MY Q.UARRELS WITH 

Major Bruff, and my inilexible reserve to- 
wards Major Hunt, be considered as arts of se- 
duction. 

If the deposition of Major Bruff merited a serious an- 
swer, it would be an easy matter to confute his state- 
ments, and invalidate his testimony. I will barely, on Deposi 
this head, refer the court, to the deposition of Lieutenant i'°" °^ 

' * Lieute- 

Ambrose Whitlock,* contradicting the assertions of Major nantAVhit- 
Bniff, respecting the interview between us, when he met J"^J^-j.|^(^'L' 
me on my approach to St. Louis. I refer also, to Major Major 
Bruff's testimony, in Burr's trial, (page 299) where he ^"^^ 
swears, « he was subpoenaed to attend the court,^^ and in 
the same book (page 301), where he admits " he was not 

* See Appendix, No. LXXIX— Third Report Committee of Con^ 
gressj Mr. Bacon chairman, page 241. 

VOL. II. r p 



298 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, suhpxnaed ;** and also to his testimony, in the same book, 
^ "^' (P^S^ 9.S2) wherein he swears, that in our first interview 
at St. Louis, « I LOCKED THE DOOR," hut whcH he found 
it could be proved, by an host of witnesses, that the door 
of the room to which he alluded, had no lock to it, he in 
his deposition delivered to the committee of Congress, 
swears, that I *< fastened the door."* 



* See Third Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Bacon rhairman, 
page 209. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 299 



CHAPTER IX. 

Testimomj of Colonel M*Kee^ before the court at Richmond^ 
compared with his deposition furnished a committee of 
Congress. — Colonel Burr visits General Wilkinson^ at SI. 
Louis. — Captain Hughes^s deposition. — Letter to Gover- 
nor Harnson from General TVilJdnson, respecting Bum 
—Burros letter to General Wilkinson^ dated, September 
26, 1805 — The same to the same, Jlpril 16, 1806. — Me- 
ference to General Wilkinson's letter to Burr, respecting 
Miranda. — Letters from Burr to General Wilkinson, ex- 
amined, beaiing date, December 12, 1805, and Januartj 
6th, 1806. — President Mams^s letter to General Wilkin- 
son. — Doctor I. F. Carmichaef's deposition^ — Orders from 
the Secretary of War to General Wilkinson.' — His an- 
swers to the Secretarij of War. — General Wilkinson's 
oi'ders to Colonel Cushing.— -Reflections on Burr'*s let- 
ters. — Observations on the communication made to the 
Secretary of the JS*avy, in September, 1804, respecting 
Burr. — Particular remarks on Burr's letter of Jlpril 
16, 1806, and the orders of the Secretary of War to 
General Wilkinson. — The embairassments of General 
Wilkinson. — He determines to draw from Burr his real 
objects, and for this purpose writes to him. — General 
Wilkinson avoids hostilities with the Spaniards. — ^The 
effect such hostilities would have produced on Burr's 
project. — Samuel Swartwout, the messenger of Burr, 
pursues General Wilkinson. — Interview with Swart' 
wout, at JSTatchitoches. — His account of his journey. — 
Extract from L. W. Ta%ewcWs testimony before the 
court, at Richmond. — Burr and Dayton's letters of the 
24f/t, and 9,9th July, to General Wilkinson. — Observa- 
tions on the letters of Burr and Dayton. — Determination 
of General Wilkinson. — He expects tofght the Spaniards. 
—'Letters of the Spanish Governors Cordero and Herrara 
to Colonel Cushing, Governor Claiborne, and General 



CHAP 
IX. 



300 MEMOIRS BY 

Wilkinson. — Swartwout leaves General Wilkinson's 
campi October 18. — General Wilkinson writes io the 
President the SlOth, and 21st October, and to Colonel 
Freeman the 23rf. — Lieutenant-colonel Smith's testimony. 
— Fcrjylexitif of General Wilkinson'^s situaiion.—His 
communications produce the PresidenVs proclamation. — 
>—Clolonel Burling's deposition. — Reference to correspond- 
ence with the Spanish Governors. — General Wilkinson 
makes an amicable adjustment with the Spaniards with- 
out bloodshed. — Returns to J\'\itchitoches, the 5th of ^"0- 
vember. — Despatches Major Porter with a detachmeni 
for J\*ew Orleans, and wntes to Lieutenant-colonel Free- 
man, J\'*ovember 7th. — Letter from Bollman enclosing 
one from Dayton. — General Wilkinson receives a letter 
from W. L. Donaldson esq. — Leaves JVatchitochcs for 
J\''atchez>. — General Wilkinson writes to the President 
the 12th JSTovember, by Mr. Isaac Briggs. — His letters to 
Governor Claiborne, and Lieutenant-colonel F'reeman the 
same day. 

CHAP. I NOW invite the attention of the court, to the 

^^- deposition of Colonel M-Kee, delivered to the comniit- 

, toe of Congress, of which Mr. Bacon was chairman. I 

C iloiiel ^ 

M'Kee's rcfcr to this deposition,* to which I have before allud- 
testimony. gj^ for the purpose of shewing;, that in the autumn ol 
1805, I considered a war with Spain inevitable, and that 
J did in that event contemplate .nx expedition to Mexico, 
under the sanction of the government. The letter of 
Colonel M'Kee, written so lonj^ ago as February 26, 
1800, in answer to my proposition, shews, that the expe- 
dition contemplated, was such as I have stated, and sucli 
as he has deposed to. In the printed copy of Burr's trial, 
this letter is, by mistake I presume, made to bear date, 
February 26, 1S07 j but the true date is 1806, us is mani- 
fest from the wliolc of Colonel M'Kee's testimony, and 



* See Appendix, No. LXXX. — Third Report CommiUee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 252-3. — Burr's Trial, page 22, Se- 
cond Series. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 301 

because in 1807, Burros project had been defeated. If, chap. 
therefore, about this timet I had indistinctly hinted at a ^^' 
distant and splendid enterprise, the testimony furnished 
by Colonel M*Kee, to whom I fully explained myself, 
proves, that I had no intention to violate any law, moral 
or political; and that a peace with Spain, would put an 
end to the enterprise. It is true, Sir, that the testimony 
of Colonel M<Kee on Burr's trial, is now produced 
against me ; but his testimony on that occasion, is so fully 
and satisfactorily explained, by the deposition and letter, 
on which I have just remarked, that I cannot deem it ne- 
cessary, to detain the court longer on this subject. I 
will refer to one more letter* from Colonel M'Kee, of 
February 16, 1807, and close my observations on his 
testimony. 

I now return to the movements of Colonel Burr in the Colonel 
western country, during the summer and fall of 1805. I ^.^Jy^^ 
have already traced him to the SOtli of July, at which ments 
time, he liad left New Orleans, and reached Tennessee summer * 

River on his return : in his letter of that date, he ex- a"ti fall of 

1805 
pressed his expectation of visiting me, at St. Louis, by 

the 1st of September following. He did visit me about 

the middle of that month. Memorable period ! — for it 

was then, that tlie unlimited confidence I had reposed in 

Colonel Burr, during an intimacy of many years, was 

impaired, and for the first time in my life, I could not 

avoid feeling towards him, something like distrust and 

suspicion. I proceed to shew how I acted, under these 

new and painful impressions. 

As the private communications at St. Louis, between 

Colonel Burr and myself, are not in evidence before th© 

court, aiui as it is out of my power to prove them by any 

other testimony than my own oath, it woidd be improper 

for me to iJelail them in my defence ; it w ill suffice to 

sav, that iiis altered and mvsterious manner ; his unex- ^^^ alicr- 

' , eel and 

plained hints of a splendid and brilliant enterprise, excit- myste- 

* See Appendix, No. LXXXL 



302 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, ed my suspicions ; and although he spoke of this enter- 
prise, as being countenanced by government, his unusual 
rious man- "1^""^'' ^'^^ unusual rcscrvc, would not permit me to 
nerofco- give entire confidence to this assurance; I feared that 
excite ambition and revenge, were leading him from the path 
General of his duty. And how, Mr. President, did I act, in this 
son's sus- delicate and painful conjtim ture ? Did I Cfmnive at Iiis 
picions. schemes? Did I conceal them? Let the testimony* of 

Captain Hughes speak for me. 
General Thus it is proved, that so soon as my suspicions were 
Wilkinson awakened, I communicated them to the government. If 

communi- 

cates his I had stopped here, and done nothing more, I should 

suspicions ii^YQ discharged my duty. I had fairly warned a mem- 

to govern- * J J -> 

ment. her of the cabinet; it then became the duty of the go- 
vernment to watch his motions, and take the proper steps 
to defeat his designs. I must hold this single fact, prov- 
ed by Captain Hughes, to be conclusive, in my favour, 
on this branch of your enquiry. I could not be leagued 
with Burr, because I did not hesitate as to the course I 
should take. I attempted to put the government on their 
guard, as soon as I suspected there might be danger, and 
in season to defeat any illicit project, which might be 
contemplated. For my letter, to the seci-etary of the 
navy, is proved to have been written, and sent to the 
post-office at Cahokia, soon after Colonel Burr left me, 
in September, 1805; a year before the conspiracy was 
matured and ready for explosion. I was not content, 
Mr. President, with the bare discharge of my duty. I 
did more. — To save from disgrace, the man, who had 
so long been my friend, and to save my country from tlie 
dangers and disasteis, liis irregular and enterprising 
spirit, might bring upon it; I sought to give to his dis- 
tinguished talents, a proper object of ambition. My 
anxiety and my feelings arc so fully depicted, in my let- 
ter to Governor Hariisf)n, of the Indiana Territory, 
written on that occasion, and of which Burr himself, wag 



See Appendi.T, No. LXX 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 303 

the bearer, that I must hes; leave to introduce an exti'act* chap. 
from it, which immediately relates to this subject, 

Mr. President, the court cannot fall to remark, the Letters 
striking difference between this letter, and thatf which I written to 
wrote, on a simihir occasion, to Daniel Clark, which lias namson 
already been read, and received its comment. In the^"^,^*^'- 
letter to Mr. Clark, I speak of Colonel Burr, in the spectin^ 

strongest terms of affection, and only hint at his views, Colonel 

* 'J ' gupj, coin- 

in rf sprct to his election. I was tlien full of friendship pared. 
and full of confidence. Doubt hfid now taken the place 
of confidence, and sta,8;gered my affection for Colonel H 

Burr. I say staggered. Sir, but not destroyed ; for I 
only doubted. I was by no means convinced of his illicit 
designs. This difference of feeling is distinctly marked, 
in the two letters. The court will not find, in tliis letter 
to Governor Harrison, those sti'ong expressions of affec- 
tionate praise, which characterised the other. I even 
allude to my own suspicions, when I say, « a boon pcr- 



* Extract of a letter from General Wilkinson to Governor Harri- 
son, dated, Si. Louis, Sept. 19, 1805. 

" Shall I say in return, I have a boon to ask of you, of no ordinary 
import ? No, I will not ! because the commutation would dishonour 
my application ; but I will demand from your friendship a boon, in its 
influeni e and effects, co-extensive with the union ; a boon perhaps on 
which that union may much depend ; a boon, which may serve me, 
may serve you, and disserve neither; a boon, which from my know- 
ledge of men, motives and principles, will be acceptable to those, 
whose politics we are bound to support. If you ask, what is this im- 
portant boon which I so earnestly crave I I will say to you, return the 
bearer to the councils of our country ; where his talents and abilities 
are all important at the present moment. But, you continue, how is 
this to be done ? by your fiat. — Let Mr. Parke adhere to liis profes- 
sion : convene your Solomons and let them return him (Colonel Burr) 
to congress. If you taste this proposition, speak to him, and he will 
authorise you, if necessary, to purchase an estate for him in )'our 
territory " — ?ee Third Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Bacon 
chairman, page 258-9. 

In the printed report there is a typographical error, the word " se- 
cure" is twice used in the seventh line of the puragraph above quot- 
ed, instead of the word " serve." 

t See Appendix, No. LXXI. 



30* MEMOIRS BY 

CHA.P. haps on which that union* may much depend.*' And as 
^^ times of danger are not times for delicacy, I speak open' 
\y and earnestly on the subject of his election. 

Whether or not Colonel Burr was willing, at that 
time, to go into the councils of liis country, and give to 
his ambition a patriotic direction, I could not decide. 
But.certain it is, as my letter to Governor Harrison ma- 
nifestly proves, I firmly believed his election to Con- 
gress, would wean him from any unlawful enterpiisc, he 
might have had in contemplation ; and it is equally cer- 
l|l tain, that he taught me to believe he wished to be elected. 

In proof of this fact, I now present an extract from his let- 
terf of Sept. 26th, 1805, seven days only after the date of 
my letter to Governor Harrison. But he was not more 
successful in his election in Indiana, than lie had been in 
Tennessee, and New Orleans^ and shortly after, he re- 
turned to the Atlantic states. 

I have now, Mr. President, given a faithful narrative, 
substantiated at every step by irrefragable proofs, of my 
conduct in relation to Colonel Burr, during his visit to 
the western country, in the year 1805. The court can- 
not be at a loss to perceive, the situation of my mind in 
respect to him, at the time of his departure froni St. 
Louis. I had imbibed doubts of the correctness of his 
views, but his return to the Atlantic states, had placed 
his movements beyond my vieW', and immediately under 
the eye of the government. I had warned a member of 



* I have stated on oath, to the court at Richmond, that Colonel 
Burr, during his visit at St. Louis, speaking' of the imbecility of the 
government, said, " it would moidder to pieces, die a natural death," 
or words to that effect; adding "that the people of the western coun-. 
try were ready for revolt." — To this I recollect replying, " that if he 
had not profiled more by his journey, he had better have remained at 
Washington, or Philadelphia. — For surely" said I, •' my friend, no 
person was ever more misiaken ! The western people disaffected to 
the government ! they are bigotted to Jefferson and democracy," and 
the conversation dropt. 

f See Appendix, No. LXXXII. — Third Report of the tommittee o^ 
Congress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 199. 



I 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 3Q5 

tlie cabinet <' to keep an eye on himi* and of consequence chap. 
my mind was at ease on the subject. My letter to Go- ''^ 
vcrnor Harrison, and tlie deposition of Captain Hug^hes, 
furnish convincing proofs, that I had not then united 
with him, in any criminal project; and so little anxiety 
<lid I afterwards feel, about the designs in which he 
might then have been engaged, than in his letter* to me, 
of April Ifitli, 1806, he says, "nothing had been Colonel 

HEARD FROM BRIGADIER (meaning myself) since Oc- letter of 

TOBER." I kept no copies of my letters to Colonel Burr, ^^^^ ^V^'^^ 
and cannot therefore speak with certainty as to their kn.wie.^g. 
dates, or with entire precision as to tiieir contents. But >nphe had 
it was probable, that, about that time, alluding to the from Ge- 
newspaper reports of the day, concerning Miranda's ex- nf^'^l Wil- 
pedition, and reflecting on Colonel Burr's observations for six 
to me at St. Louis, to draw from him some explanation '"O"^'^' 
of the objects at which he had hinted, I used tlie expres- 
sion, " I fear Miranda has taken the bread out of your 
mouth."f I do not know what effect this expression, 
which has been offered in evidence, is expected to have 
against me. It was voluntarily disclosed by me, on tlie 
trial at Riclnnond; and I presume it is not only law, but 
immutable justice also, that if the fact I then disclosed 
should be used against me, the circumstances rtjwuected 
and disclosed with it, are likewise to be admitted. I 
shall therefore dismiss tills part of the testimony without 
comment. — It cannot require any. It is sufficiently ex- 
plained in my testimony before the court at Richmond, 
from which it has been extracted, and brought before 
this court. 

The fu'st letter written to me by Colonel Burr, after 
his return to the Atlantic states, was on Dec. 12th, 18054 
dated at Philadelphia. In this letter, it is obvious, that 
Colonel Burr was insidiously endeavouring, to infuse 

* See Appendix, No. LXXXIII.— Third Ueport Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 202. 
t Burr's trial, p. 188. 
See Appendix, No. LXXXIV.— Third Report Committee of Gon- 
ss, Mr. B.ncon chairman, p. 200. 
VOL. II, Q q 



306 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, into my mind, jealousies and suspicions of the general 
government, and seeking to alarm the pride of a man, who 
he knew to be tenacious of his rank and honoui*. The 
design with whicli this was done, is too apparent to be 
misinterpreted: he wished to seduce me from my duty to 
the government, and to prepai'e me, for the criminal en- 
terprise he had in contemplation. The very attempt to 
eon'upt me, proves I was not already corrupted; and the 
insidious manner in Avhich he commenced his attack, 
shews that he doubted of its success. Besides, the art 
and intrigue with which he approaches me, proves I had 
no participation in his plot. For wliy should I be mor- 
tified, at General Lee's appointment to the chief command 
of the army, if I was just about separating myself from 
all hopes of continuing in command of it, by uniting with 
Colonel Burr in his lawless design ? Or how could I be 
supposed to feel any anxiety, concerning the confirma- 
tion of my appointment, as Governor of Louisiana, if 1 
had been leagued in this conspiracy? These reflections 
could not have escaped a man of Colonel Burr's acute- 
ness, and to them may be ascribed, the caution and re- 
serve with which he concealed his real designs from me. 
There is, indeed, an enigmatical allusion in this letter, 
to a certain « speculation ;" but I could have no reason, 
at that time, to suppose « speculation," was used as a 
cant word for conspiracy, because the whole pai-agraph 
apears to be connected, in meaning, with « the circum- 
stances referred to vl a letter from Ohin.^' And as there. 
Canal spe- was, in truth, a speculatwn in a canals to be cut at the ra- 
on the " P^^^ ^f ^^^^^ river, in which Colonel Burr and myself were\ 
west bank kiwwn to he engaged, this letter might naturally be under-] 
Oh[o al- stood, to allude to that speculation. The letter referred^ 
luded to. to by Colonel Burr, "from the Ohio," 1 do not remem- 
ber to have received; yet there was, in the whole para- 
graph, of which I am now speaking, an air of my-stery, 
Corrcs- that, together with the unintelligible cnquiiy at the end, 
with Ge-^ kept alive the doubts I had before conceived; and as Ge- 
neral neral Adair's name was mentioned, and 1 placed entire 
^"" confidence in Iiis friendship and integrity, I addressed to 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 307 

Jiiiii a letter ot enquiry, which ijroduced his answer* of chap. 
January 27th, 1806. IX. 

This letter from Adair, then a senator of the United '"'^'^''^^^ 
States, in whom I placed implicit reliance, was so 
well calculated to impose on me, that I confess, it fully 
answered the purpose for which it was written. He as- 
sures me, that <' tub otsiuY object of Colonei. Burr's 

VISIT TO THE WEST, WAS TO AVOID A PROSECUTION j'^ 

and in order the more effectually to remove the suspicions, 
which he found were aw akened in my bosom, he tells me 
a plausible tale, of offers to Colonel Burr from New 
York, which, if not true, it was impossible for me to do^ 
tect, at the great distance which separated us, and in the 
secluded spot where I was then placed. 1 could not wish 
stronger proof of my innocence, than the pains taken by 
Adair, to deceive and mislead me. It has been shewn 
by Doctor Carmichael in his deposition! that Adair was 
connected with Colonel Burr, and it cannot be doubted, 
that he was at the very time of his writing this letter, 
and those of December, 1805, and April, 1806, endea- 
vouring to obtain information from me, for the use of the 
conspirators. 

The next letter§ I received from Burr was dated, Ja- Colonel 
nuary 6, 1806^ in which, there is no mysterious allu- j^'Jg^J^ig'^f 
sions to plans or speculations, nor any expression which correspoR^ 
could increase my suspicions. I shall, for the present, ^^^T-^u d 
dismiss this letter with a single remark, that, like that 
of December 13th, it manifests Colonel Burr's perfect 
knowledge, of my desire to stand well with the govern- 
ment. A conspirator, on the eve of acting his part, 
could not be supposed to care much about the opinion 
of his government, in relation to a road through a wil- 
derness. And, if Colonel Burr, knew me to be a co-eon- 



See Appendix, No. LXXVIl. 

\ See Appendix, No. LXXXV.— Third Report Committee of Con- 
gresSi Mr. Bacon chairman, pa»e 346. 

§ See Appendix, No. LXXXVI.— Third Report Committee of Cqn> 
gress Mr. Bacon chairman, page 200. 



308 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, spirator, he would not have mentioned an incident, which 
^^ (under such rircumstances) must have been a matter of 
indiflTcrence to me. 

Tliese letters of Colonel Burr, connected with those 
from Adair, left my mind during the winter and spring 
of 1806, free from any uneasiness about Burr's designs; 
and it has been shewn, that 1 had not written to him 
after the preceding November. In the spring of 1806, 
niy expectation of a war with the Spaniards, was con- 
firmed, by the order of the 14th of March, received from 
the secretary of war, commanding mc to reinforce our 
posts on the lower Mississippi; \Nhich order* was fol- 
lowed by another,! dated the lSt!i of the same month ; 
urging me to hasten the reinforcements, and assigning 
for motive, the movements of the Spaniards on the Sa- 
bine. Tlie first of these orders was received at St. 
Louis, on the 11th of April, and the second on the 25th 
of the same month, as appears by my answers! to the 
secretary of war. 

The promptitude and alacrity with which I executed 
these orders, will be seen in my letters to the secretary of 
war, just referred to; and in my consequent instructions^ 
General of May 6th and 8th, to Colonel Cushing. I must re- 
son's anxi- fl"'^^^ ^^^^ particular attention of the court to these in- 
ety to pre- structions ; because the caution I enjoin, my anxiety to 
tilitiesta- P»*pvent unnecessary hostility, and my positive order 

kinj; place that «< THE SWORD MUST NOT BE DRAWN, BUT IN THE 

Spaniards, lAST EXTREMITY," afFoi'd irrefragable proofs, of my 
manifest- humanity and of my zeal in the service of my country; 
and unequivocally demonstrate, that I could not be a 
partizan of the conspiracy then in embryo. For whether 
the design was to sever tlic union, or invade Mexico, a 
war with the Spaniards on the Sabine, would have re- 

* See Appendix, No. LXXXVII. — Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 358 — 361. 

■f See supra. 

4 See Appendix, No. LXXXVIII.— -Third Report Committee of Con- 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 362 — 363. 

§ See AppendL^, No. LXXXIX.-— Burr's Trial, page^244— 247. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 309 

moved the army out of the way, and civen a full scope to CHA.P. 
the conspirators. If Colonel Burr's design was to se- ^^^,1,^. 
ver the union, Spain, at war with us, would gladly have 
aided him; — if to invade Mexico, the war would have 
furnished a most desirable pretext, and thousands would 
have crowded to his standard. Every day, it is true, 
increased our prospects of war, until, on the 6th May, 
tlie secretary issued an order* to me, which, from its 
whole tenor, left no doubt on my mind, that war had be- 
come inevitable. I immediately occupied myself in ar- 
ranging the affairs of my government, that I might be ena- 
bled to enter upon my military duty, with as little delay 
as possible. But various and unavoidable obstacles de- 
tained me at St. Louis, until the 25th of August. On the 7th 
Sept., I arrived at Natchez, and in a letter,! from that General 
place, dated the 8th of the same month, addressed to the despatch^ 
secretary of war, I detailed the plan of my intended ope- es a detail 
rations ; — and the judgment of the court will determine, tended" 
whether the whole tenor of that letter, does not manifest operations 
a zealous devotion to the public service; and whether the cretaryof 
military operations pointed out in the same, could be cal- war. 
culated to aid the conspiracy of Colonel Burr. I proceed- 
ed for Natchitoches, and arrived tiiere the 22d of Sep- 
tember; w here, w hilst actively engaged, in creating meanSf 
to enable me to advance against the Spaniards, who had 
entered the territory claimed by the United States, I was 
visited by Mi*. Samuel Swartwout, a young gentleman, 
whom Colonel Burr had seduced into his service. 

But early in the month of May, while at St. Louis, Reflec- 
occupied in directing the movements of the troops, and t'ons on 
looking forward to a war with the Spaniards, I received Burr's 

Colonel Burr's letteri of April 16th, 1806. The letter ^°•■•'"- 

• • o 111 . . rv 1 .,. . pondence. 

he therein mtorms me, he had written in December, it in 



* See Appendix, No. XC. — ^Third Report Committee of Con,- 
gress, Mr. Bacon cliairman, page 365. 

t See Appendix, No. XCI— Third Report Committee of Ton. 
gress, Mr. Bacon chairman, page 378 — 383. 

t Sec Appendix; No. LXXXIII. 



310 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, truth it was written at all, never reached my hands. 
*^' Upon the receipt of this letter, I could no longer doubt, 
that Coh)nel Burr was on tlie eve of attempting some en- 
terprise, but, whether criminal or not, I was still unable 
to discover. 

It will he observed, Mr. President, that in Burr's let- 
ters of Dec. and Jan. preceding, which I have already 
noticed, lie represents himself, as being on the best foot- 
ing with the administration J speaks of conversations 
with several heads of departments, and of having dined 
with the President. Whether these representations were 
true, or untrue, I could not know, and therefore I could 
not discredit them. The orders of the secretary of war. 
indicating the approach of hostilities with Spain, bore 
date the 14th and 18th of March. Burr was then in the 
Atlantic states; believed by me, from his statements, to 
he on the most friendly terms with the administration: 
and this belief was confirmed, by the letter of Adair, a 
senator of the United States, in which he represented — 
<< that Burr had so far regained his •political ijijluence, as 
to be courted by both of the political parties in the state of 
JVew Vorkf and that he stood on such high ground, as to 
make it doubtful whether or not he would accept, the prof- 
fered act of amnestij and the office of governor,*" which, but 
a short time before he had been so solicitous to obtain. 
Colonel Burr's last letter to me bore date, a month after 
the orders of the secretary of war. From these dates 
and circumstances, I might very naturally conclude, that 
he was acquainted with the views of government, and 
that the project of wliich he spoke, was connected with 
the expected war with Spain, and was countenanced by 
the government. This reasoning was strengthened by 
the entire neglect, with which my warning in September 
appeared to have be^n treated by the administration. 
I felt confident, that information had been received, be- 
cause it had been carefully deposited in the post office : 
yet it had not been noticed; and Burr appeared from 
his own letters, and the letter of Adair, to have recover- 
ed his lost ground. To this must, also, be added, the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 314 

iauguage hold to me by Colonel Burr at St. Louis, when chap. 
he hinted at a splendid enterprise, but disclaimed any ^^ 
design of acting, without the authority of the govern- 
ment, and asked me, whether an order from Mr. Gallatin 
would satisfy me. Under the then existing circumstances, 
it seemed probable the government had approved of his 
plan, and entrusted him to carry it into execution. I 
am also desired, in this letter, to " address Burr at 
Washington," as if he was proceeding to that city, to 
make furtlier arrangements with the government. 

But, on the other hand, the extraordinary and unin- particulai' 
tcliigible language of this letter of the 16th of April, J^^c'^i^^gi 
staggered my confidence in the reasoning whicli I have Burr's let- 
Just offered. It was apparent, on tlio face of it, that ^5^^ \pril 
pains had been taken to convey the idea, that I was not I8O6, and 
only acquainted with the enterprise, but concerned in it. ^tHhe'se-^ 
As Burr knew this to be false, there seemed to be no rea- cretary of 
son for the fiction; unless to prevent my exposing the ^^J^^^"^j 
fetter; because if I should expose it, and by that means wilkin- 
discover his designs to be criminal, it miglit subject me 
to the suspicion of being an accomplice, and weaken the 
public confidence then reposed in me. The letter care- 
fully avoided, giving any account or even hint, of t\w 
' oal and definite object of the expedition; and the qucs- 
ijon it contains, *' Is Cusion et Fortes right?-' seemed to 
be intended, in case of a discovery, merely to implicate 
me in his scheme: for, if it was warraiited by the go- 
vernment, the fidelity and courage of Colonel Cashing 
and Major Porter, to whom the letter must be under- 
stood to allude, had already been tested by too many 
hardships and dangers, to leave any room to doubt them. 
Besides, my orders from the government, gave no notice 
of any such enterprise. 

The court will readily perceive, that after comparing Embar- 
aud reflecting on all the circumstances, I have stated, rassmenis 

, . , . . . „ oj Gene- 

Itiis letter must have placed me, m a situation ot most ral Wil- 
puiuful perplexity and suspense. I could not penetrate l-'"son. 
liic veil, under which the main objects of this letter were 
concealed J and, of course, was at a loss how to act. My 



31S 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP 
IX. 



(ieneral 
Wilkinson 
determin- 
ed to ex- 
tract from 
Burr his 
real ob- 
jects. 



Samuel 
Swar- 
twout. 
Burr's 



former caution to a member of the cabinet, had been so 
entirely ne.^lected, and I had such full confidence it had 
been received, that I felt a repugnance to repeat the in- 
formation I had given. I therefore determined, if possi- 
ble, to draw the secret from Burr himself; whose myste- 
rious, equivocal conduct, justified the experiment. I ac- 
cordingly wrote him a letter, conceived in such terms, as 
struck me, to be best calculated to produce the desired ef- 
fect. Under these impressions, and with these views, I 
addressed Colonel Burr; and this letter is probably the 
same, with which I was menaced id Richmond, said to 
be "post marked the 13th of May." But having, as I 
before observed, kept no copies of my letters to Colonel 
Burr, I cannot pretend to be strictly accurate, as to their 
dates or contents. Yet the letter wrote on tliis occasion, 
appears to have answered, in some degree, the purpose 
for which it was intended; because Colonel Burr, after 
the receipt of it, ventured to communicate more of his 
designs, than he had before dared to hazard. He imme- 
diately despatched Mr. Swartwout, to bear me his letter 
of 29th July, 1806, with orders to apprise me, verbally, 
of the whole scheme, and to concert with me the plan of 
operations. My letter whicli produced this disclosure, 
was confined solely to the object, for which it was writ- 
ten; that is, to extract from Colonel Burr, the real na- 
ture of the enterprise, in which he \\as engaged. But so 
far was I from participating in that ent.M'prise, or acting 
in concert with Burr, that 1 did not inform him of the 
movements I was about to make, or where to direct his 
communications to me. In truth, nothing could more ef- 
fectually counteract his designs, than the pains 1 had 
taken, to prevent the commencement of hostilities with 
the Spaniards, and to avert the calamities of wnv; which 
my instructions to Colonel Cushing, and my letters to 
the secretary of war, already remarked upon, fully 
evince. 

Mr. Swartwout, to whom Colonel Burr had confided, 
his last communication to me, and whose interview with 
me, it was Colonel Burr's interest to accelerate, in order 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 313 

to produce prompt concert and co-operation, did not chap. 
know where to find me; although my letter of May had ^^ 
been received, previously to his sepiiration from Colonel ^^^^^^^^^ 
Burr. Swartwout, therefore, when he set out in search ger, pur- 
of me, was obliged to regulate his movements, by such ^"^^j ^^r^. 
information, as he could collect on his route. When he binson. 
reached the Falls of Ohio, he was at a loss which way to 
proceed, because a rumour prevailed theie, that I had 
descended the Mississippi ; yet as my letter to Colonel 
Burr, was dated at St. Louis, he determined not to trust 
to report, but crossed the country, in the expectation of 
finding me at that place. He, accordingly proceeded by 
St. Vincennos to Kaskaskias, where learning I had de- 
scended the great river, he purchased a skiff and follow- 
ed me to Fort Adams.— On arriving at that post, he dis- 
covered I had gone forward to Natchitoches. Thi- 
ther he directed his course, where he found me, and had 
his first interview. 

This is Swartwout's own account of his journey; agree- Swart- 
ably to the deposition* of Mr. Tazewell, offered in evi- ^u„t^of*^ 

* Extract from the testimony of Littleton W. Tazewell, a witness 
jailed on the part of Colnnel Burr, delivered before tiie District 
Court of the United States, on the trial of Aaron Burr, at Richmond. 
October 3d, 1807- — Burr's Trial, second series, page 8. 

" Question. — (By Colonel Burr.) —Have you observed any inconsis- 
tency, or contradiction, in the evidence delivered by General Wilkin- 
son, before the judge, and that given to the grand jury ? 

" ^ius-wer. — None at all. 

" Questio7i. — (By Mr. Hay, U. S. Attorney-general.) — Do you recol- 
lect, whether the testimony of Swariwout, coincided with that of Ge- 
neral Wilkinson ? 

"Answer. — They could not be said, to oppose each other in their 
testimony. Mr. Swartwout was examined first, and many of the 
circumstances to which he deposed, were unknown to General Wil- 
kinson. 

" Qiestio!i.—(^'Sy Mr. Hay.) — I speak as to the conversations be- 
tween Swartwout and General Wilkinson. 

" Jlnsiver. — Perhaps there was this difference, — General Wilkinson 
sta'ed that in the absence of Colonel Gushing, which was spoken of 
by both of them, Mr. Swartwout slipped into liis hand, the cyphered 
letter from Colonel Burr. Mr. Swartwout, who discovered the utmost 
frankness, and candour in his evidence, stated the transaction in .% 

VOX. II. R r 



311. MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, dcnce against mc, before the District Court, at Ricli- 

^^" mond, on Burr's trial, viz. " that my testimony before 

his our- *''^ grand jury, at Richmond, was the same with that 

ney", given in open court, and corresponded with Swartvvout's, 

agreeably 
to the tes- 
timony of different manner, he declared that the letter was delivered openly, 

Mr. Taze- without any effort to conceal it. 

well. «< Question.— (By Mr. Hay.)— But they both stated the fact, in the 

same way, — that it was delivered in the absence of Colonel Cashing; 
" Answer. — Yes, they both stated that fiict in the same way." 

It may be proper to observe, that Mr. Tazewell was one of the 
grand jury, who found the bill of indictment, against Colonel Burr, 
and the following certificate will, unequivocally, set forth, the guo 
animo of the witness, several months before he was summoned to 
serve as a grand juror, in the case of Colonel Burr. 

"I certify, that sometime in the month of February, 1807. 1 met 
Mr. Littleton W. Tazewell, with several other gentlemen, at the 
house of Mr. James Taylor of Norfolk, when a conversation was in- 
troduced, toucliing t!ie conduct of General Wilkinson ; in the course 
of which, Mr. Tazewell pboposed a Bt;T or a coat, {-vhich I took up,) 

THAT GeNERAI W. WOUXD BE DISMISSED THE SERVICE, WITHIJf NINE 

MONTHS FROM THAT DATE. The bet /ws been decided, and paid by J\I): T. 

"J. SAUNDKRS, 

" Capt. U. S. Artilleru. 
" Wa&hingion, July 18, 1808." 

It is understood, the bet was made for a full dress regimental coatj 
which cost eighty or ninety dollars; and it exhibits a new species oil 
gambling, where the honour of a gentleman, is made the subject of 

wager-, AND THE PARTY PROPOSING THE BET, SITS IN JUDG. 
MEXT ON THE DECISION. Mr. TaZEWE LL IS EJTT I TLED TOTHe" 
CREDIT OF THE INVENTION. AND I CONGRATULATE HIM ON HIS 

SUCCESS ; but cannot recommend the sport. I leave to the reader the 
comments due to so singular a transaction, and will dismiss it, with 
three brief rt-marks. 

1st. — It proves the prejudice, and pre-judgment of Mr. Tazewell, 
before he was placed on the jury, and should have disqualified him 
in his oivn mind for the office. 

2dly. — It proves, that Mr. Tazewell kne-iu more of Burr's conspiraci; 
than other people, as nothing had been published at the time, to impli- 
cate Wilkinson with Burr, and 

3dly — It proves, Mr Tazewell's disqualification, to set as a judge 
upon Wilkinson's honour, because be was interested in his condemna- 
tion i and we all understand MR. TAZEWELL'S RULING PAS- 
SION. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 315 

as to the conversations between iis, in all respects, ex- CHAP, 
cept only as to the manner, in which Burr's cyphered '^" 
letter was delivered." Surely, all this difficulty in disco- 
vering my position, does not look like concert on my part. 
Indeed, so ignorant was Burr, of my situation or pursuits, 
in midsummer, 1806 ; and so entirely, had all correspon- 
dence between ns ceased, that on the SOth of July, of that 
year, more than nine months after his visit to St. Louis, 
on his passage through Philadelpliia, lie enquired of a 
member of the cabinet, (the honourable Albert Gallatin,* 
secretary of the treasury,) « whkther I had resigned 
or been removed from the office of governor of 
Louisiana." 

Mr. Swartwout arrived at Natcliitoches on tlie 8th 
October, 1806, as is proved by the depositionf of Colo- 
nel Cusliing ; and the same day delivered me two letters 
from Colonel Burr, dated the 25th and 29th of July pre- 
ceding, together with a letter from General Dayton, 
bearing date, the 24th of the same month, which, I beg 
leave to insert in this defence, and are as follow : 

" Dear Sir, 

" Mr. Swartwout, the brother of Colonel S., of New 
York, being on his way down the Mississippi, and pre- 
suming he may pass you at some post on the river, has 
requested of me a letter of introduction, which I give 
with pleasure, as he is a most amiable young man, and 
highly respected from his character and connexions. I 
pray you to afford any friendly offices which his situa- 
tion may require, and beg you to pardon the trouble 
which this may give you. 

" With entire respect, 

" Your friend and obed't servant, 
(Signed) «* A. BURR. 

« Philadel. July 25tJh 1806. 
'' His ExccUeiicij General Wilkinson," 

* Mr. Gallatin authorised this statement. 

t See Appendix, No. XCII Burr's Trial, page 232 



316 MEMOIRS BY 

CH\P. 

*^- A. Burr's xetter, in cypher. 

"Yours, post-marked 13th of May, is received. I, 
Aaron Burr have obtained funds, and have actually com- 
menced the enterprise. Detachments from different 
points, and under different pjetences, will rendezvous on 
Ohio, 1st November — every ihin.i^ internal and external 

favours views: protection of England is secured: T 

is going to Jamaica, to arrange with the Admiral on that 
station; it will meet on the Mississippi. — England. — 
Navy of the United States are ready to join, and final 
orders are given to my friends and followers : it will he 
a host of choice spirits. Wilkinson shall he second to 
Burr only : Wilkinson shall dictate the rank and promo- 
tion of his officers. Burr will proceed westward 1st 
August, never to return: with him go his daughter; the 
husband will follow in October, with a corps of worthies. 

« Send forth an intelligent and confidential friend with 
whom Burr may confer; he shall return immediately^ 
with further interesting details : this is essential to con- 
cert and harmony of movement : send a list of all per- 
sons known to Wilkinson, west of the mountains, who 
may be useful, with a note delineating their characters. 
By your messenger send me four or five commissions of 
your officers, which you can borrow under any pretence 
you please ; they shall be returned faithfully. Already 
are orders to the contractor given, to f irward six months 
provisions to points Wilkinson may name : this shall not 
he used until the last moment, and then under proper in- 
junctions : the project is brought to the point so lojig de- 
sired. Burr guarantees the result with his life and ho- 
nour, with the lives, the honour and fortune of hundreds, 
the best blood of our country. Burr's plan of operations 
is, to move down rapidly from the Falls on tlie 15th No- 
vember, with the first 500, or 1000 men in light boats 
now constructing for that purpose, to be at Natchez be- 
tween the 5th and 15th of December; there to meet Wil- 
kinson : there to determine whether it will be expedient 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 317 

in the first instance to seize on or pass by Baton Rouge: chap. 
on receipt of this send an answer; draw on Burr for all 
expenses, &c. The people of the country to which we 
are .e^oing, are prepared to receive us : their agents now 
with Burr say, that if we will protect their religion and 
will not subject them to a foreign power, that in three 
weeks all will be settled. The gods invite to glory and 
fortune : it remains to be seen whether we deserve the 
boon : the bearer of this goes express to you ; he will 
hand a formal letter of introduction to you from Burr; 
he is a man of inviolable honour and perfect discretion; 
formed to execute rather than to project ; capable of re- 
lating facts with fidelity, and incapable of relating them 
otherwise; he is thoroughly informed of the plans and 
intentions of Burr, and will disclose to you as far as you 
inquire, and no further : he has imbibed a reverence for 
your character, and may be embarrassed in your pre- 
sence: put him at ease and he will satisfy you. 
" 29i/i July.'' 

Letter of Jonathan Daijton to General Wilkinson. 

«< July 24th, 1806. 

At the head of the letter /—C/'-t- ^ -o ^ \ \/n\ -~o-//\ 
Explained by J. Wilkinson, Catch Word France. 

[•] France. 

« Dear Sir, 

« It is now well ascertained that you are to be dis- 
placed in next session. Jefferson will affect to yield re- 
luctantly, to the public sentiment, but yield he will; pre- 
pare yourself therefore for it : you know the rest. 

"You are not a man to despair, or even despond, espe- 
cially when such prospects offer in another quarter. Are 
you ready ? Are your numerous associates ready ? Wealth 
and Glory, Louisiana and Mexico. I shall have time to 



318 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, receive a letter from you before I set out for OJiio, OHIO. 
*''^" Address one to me here and another to me in Ciiwinnati, 
Receive and treat my nephew affectionately as jou would 
receive your friend, 

"DAYTOJ^." 
[•] France. 

Of the first letter from Colonel Burr, not a word n^ed 
be said, as it was a mere introti action, but i< is niiinifest 
when writing the second, he flattered himself, I mii^Iit be 
seduced from my duty. Tliis letter of General Davton, 
was written in a cypher, projected by himself, on the 
hieroglypliics used by Colonel Burr and myself; wliiclx 
he furnished Dayton for the purpose, and Dayion for- 
warded this cypher in a letter which was transmitted to 
me by Bollman, in the note which follows. Burr's trial, 
page 236, first series. 

« JVew Orleans f Sept, 27f/i, 180G. 

" Sir, 

« I have the honour to forw ard to your Excellency, 
the enclosed letters, which I was charged to deliver to 
you by our mutual friend. 

« I shall remain for some time at this place, and 
should be glad to learn, where and when I may have the 
pleasure of an interview with you. Have the goodness 
to inform me of it, and please to direct your letter to me 
to the care of Messrs. Chew ^- Relf, or enclose under 
cover to them. 

" I have the honour to be, ^r. 
(Signed) « ERICK BOLLMAN. 

« GenH. Wilkinson.-* 

« My Dear Friend, 

« As you are said to have removed your head-quarters 
down the river, and there is a report that tlie Spaniards 
intercept our mails, which pass necessarily througli the 
territory occupied by them, in order to reach you, I think 
proper to address you in cypher, that the contents may 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 319 

be concealed from the Dons, if they make so free as to CHAP, 
open the letter. Take the following for the catch word, *^' 
or check word (and you may very readily decypher the 
figures) viz. in your own hieroglyphics, [•] France. 
France V^ o- \ a 

"Every thing and even Heaven itself, appears to have 
conspired to prepare the train for the grand explosion : 
are you also ready ? For I know you flinch not, when a 
great object is in view. Your present is more favoura- 
ble than your late position, and as you can retain it with- 
out suspicion or alarm, you ought, by no means, to retire 
from it until your friends join you, in December, some 
where on the river Mississippi. Under the auspices of 
Burr and Wilkinson, I shall be happy to engage, and 
when the time arrives you will find me near you. 

"Write and inform me by first mail, what may be ex- 
pected from you and your associates. In an enterprise 
of such moment, considerations even stronger than those 
of affection, impel me to desire your cordial co-operation, 
and active support. 

"DAYTON." 



<•' Wealth and honour -\ 

« Adieu I Burr and Wilkinson. 

« Courage and union J 



« Let me liear from you by mail, as well as by the first 
good private conveyance, and believe me, with the best 
wishes for your prosperity and happiness, most truly 
« Your friend and servant, 

"J ON A. DAYTON. 
[Hieroglyphics] 

V^-o- /A 
France. 

But notwithstanding Colonel Burr addressed me in 
these letters, by Bollinan and Swartvvout, under the 
imponetrable veil of a cypher, intelligible to ourselves 
only, he does not abandon his habitual caution; and 



320 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. ALTHOCGir HE ENDEAVOURS to sediicB itie from iTiy 
^^" duty, and to engage me in liis project, I call you to 

WITNESS, GENTLEMEN, THAT HE DOES NOT INFORM ME 
WHAT THAT PROJECT WAS ; WITH MASTERLY CIRCUM- 
SPECTION AND CUNNING, HE AVOIDS ANY AVOWAL TO 
CRIMINATE HIMSELF, AND, AT THE SAME TIME, to 

make security doubly sure, he couches his letter in such 
dark and ambiguous terms, as were calculated to draw 
on me the foulest suspicions, should I expose it ; aware 
of the consequences, I met them without hesitation, and 
whatever may be the result, of the heavy and cruel per- 
secutions which have ensued, I can never regret the 
course I pursued. 

Thus intrenched in artifice, he instructs his emissary, 
Swartwout, how to deceive me, by exaggerating liis 
means and his force, then artfully refers mo to him for 
an explanation of his specific objects, and requests me to 
« send him a conjidential friend for a conference, with four 
or five commissions of my officers J* This proposition was 
intended as the touch-stone of my integrity ; for if Burr 
had been satisfied, that I was united in the conspiracy 
with him, every necessary arrangement could have been 
made by letter, or through his two confidential agents, 
BoUman and Swartwout, without the intervention of a 
third person. 
Reflec- 1'^*e letter of General Dayton, the coadjutor of Burr, 

tions oa delivered by Mr. Swartwout, was admirably contrived 
General . , . . , ^ , .l- ■ , ,. ,. 

Dayton's to awaken jealousies in my breast, by exciting toe beliei, 

letter. fhat I had lost the public confidence, and that the Presi- 
dent meant to disgrace me. It was a masterly artifice to 
corrupt an oflicer of traitorous propensities, and so far 
does credit to its authois ; but to a person previously 
corrupted, it would have been superfluous. Let the pa- 
ragraph speak for itself: " It is now well ascertain- 
ed, YOU ARE TO BE DISPLACED THE NEXT SESSION J JeF- 
FERSON will AFFECT, to YIELD RELUCTANTLY TO THE 
PUBLIC SENTIMENT, BUT YIELD HE WILL. PREPARE 
YOURSELF THEREFORE FOR IT, YOU KNOW THE REST." 

Thus it is apparent, that while every eflfort was making in 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 321 

newspapers,* and by other vehicles of calumny, to ex- CHAP, 
cite the suspicions of my countrymen against me, and to ^^' 
deprive me of the confidonce of my government; Colonel 
Burr and General Dayton, under the guise of friendship, 
were insidiously labouring to rouse and irritate my feel- 
ings, and goad me on to that state of desperation, which 
might fit me for a participation in their treasonable pro- 
jects : and yet this act of deliberate perfidy has passed 
without notice, while I, by a monstrous iierxersion of 
principles and morals, have been stigmatised for a breach 
of faith, and, in a court of justice, branded as a traitor 
to friendsliip; because it was impossible for me to forfeit 
my honour, disgrace my profession, conspire against the 
government I had sworn to support, and turn my arms 
against my eoimtry. It cannot be, that the most credu- 
lous, or the most prejudiced should believe, such trea- 
cherous means could iiave been deemed necessary, by 
men like Burr and Dayton, if I had previously con- 
sented, that my name should be enrolled on the list of 
conspirators. 

My conduct immediately on the receipt of these letters, 
will best expound the part I determined to take, and the 
world will bear me witness, tliat I tlid not for a moment 
waver in the line of my duty. It was late in the night after 
I received Burr's letter, before I had so far decypher- 
ed it, as to form a judgment of its contents; and on the 
very next morning, I communicated to Colonel Gushing, 
(my second in command) all I had learned on the sub- 
ject, expressing, at the same time, my abhorrence of the 
scheme, and pointing out to him, the course I meant to 
pursue, as his deposition! sets forth. 

But, because I did not, after the interview with Swar- 
twout, communicate to the President, until the 20th and 

* It is notorious, that whilst Burr was engaged in liis traitorous 
machinations, in the western country, severi.1 public prints in that 
quarter, opened ihe sluices of slander against me; and I have strong 
reason to believe, they were encouraged by Burr and his associates, 
to excite my disgust, and prepare me for their poisons. 

t See Appendix, No. XCII. 

VOL. If. S s 



322 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
IX. 



Caution 
impe- 
riously 
impo:ied 
on Gene- 
ral Wil- 
kinson, 
by a re- 
gard to 
the public 
interest. 



Corres- 
pondence 
of Gover- 
nors Her- 
rera and 
Cordero. 



21st October, an inference is attempted to be drawn, 
that I liesitatcd between the temptations of Burr, and the 
obligations of duty and honour. Such deductions com- 
port with the malevolence of my enemies, but by candid 
men they will be disdained. 

It must be remarked, that Burr's letter to me, gave no 
distinct information of his designs, nor any specific ac- 
count of the means to be employed, but referred me to 
Swartwout; it therefore became my duty to draw from 
the emissary, all the information I could, of the real de- 
signs of his principal, that I might advise the executive 
thereof, to enable him to provide the means necessary to 
defeat it. This was a work requiring much delicacy and 
caution ; a work too, which I abhorred, from the indirec- 
tion it imposed upon me. If, by proceeding too precipi- 
tately, I had alarmed Swartwout, my object would liavc 
been defeated; besides, after the insidious manner in 
which Burr had conducted himself towards me, I could 
not place full faith in the frankness and candour of tl»e 
emissary, tutored and instructed by such a master. It 
was therefore necessary, to converse with him at diffej'- 
ent times ; to mould my enquiries into different shapes ; 
and to lead him, step by step, to the different points oi" 
enquiry, for the purpose of testing his consistency, and 
the truth of his statements. This of itself, was the work 
of days, even to a mind disengHged from evei-y otiicr 
avocation. I commenced the investigation on the 9th ol 
October, the day after Mr. Swartwout presented himself. 
At that juncture the Spanish force, greatly superior in 
numbers, was in my front; and I had every reason to 
believe, that we should, in a few days, be brought to ac- 
tion. The letters* of Governor lierrera, of 6th of Aug. 
to Colonel Cusliing, and of the 26th of same month to 
Governor Claibonie, and that from Governor Cordero, 
of the 11th of Oct. to myself, will sanction this opinion. 1 
was, indeed, actively engaged, in forming and equipping 
the troops, and preparing them for the expected combat. 



See Appendix, No. XCIII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 3^3 

on the issue of which, the interests of our country, my chap. 
own lionour and that of the troops, would depend, ^^• 

Swartwoiit left my camp on the 18th of Octoher, and I 
immediately made arrangements, for communicating to 
the executive, all the information derived from him, 
which I deemed necessary at that time for the informa- 
tion of the government. The precautions I adopted, to 
insure the receipt of my communications, are fully dis- 
closed in the testimony* of Lieutenant-colonel Smith, 
(aken before this court. But, Mr. President, I could 
hardly believe, that the man whom I had so long loved 
us my friend, and whom I had so long admired as a sol- 
dier, a statesman, and a patriot, could bring himself to 
ingage in so criminal and detestable an enterprise, as 
Swartwout represented to me ; — an enterprise, in which 
the plunder of our own citizens, at New Orleans, was to 
prepare the means for the plunder of the Mexicans; and The mag- 
the invading and conquering Mexico, was an operation the"en." 
of such magnitude, that I doubted whether funds could terpnse, 
be provided, to meet the expense; or whether the conspi- doubts in 
racv could be matured and ready to burst, without the General 

^ Wilkin- 

countenance or connivance oi my own government; es- son's mind 
pecially after the warning I had given the year before ; ^^ *° ^^^ 
connected too, as the project in some respects appeared 
to be, with a Spanisli war, (which I then considered un- 
avoidable) and calculated, as it might have been, for 
aught I knew, to inflict a severe blow upon the Mexicans ; 
and compel them tlicni to recal their force from our fron- 
tier, for tlieir own immediate internal defence. I thought 
it might be possible, that Swartwout's information, rela- 
tive to the intended plunder of New Orleans, was with- 
out foundation ; and as to the proposed expedition against 
Mexico, it was also within the limits of possibility. Burr 
might have cheated himself into the belief, that although 
the executive, would not encourage it openly, he might 
be inclined to wink at it, and would not oppose the enter- 
prise. The situation of my mind, under all these views 

* See Appendix, No. XCIV. 



334 MEMOIRS BY 

CFiAP. of the subject, is so preris^ly depicted in my letters* to 
'^ the President, of SOthf an.! 21st Oct. 1806, as to prevent 
^^^^^^^^ a doubt of the sincerity of my present professions; and 
Wilkin- it will be recollected, that a day or two after the receipt 
ters'\o ^ of these letters, the proclamation:]: of the President was 
President issued, which dissipated the mists of Burr's delusions, 
Jefferson. ^j,p,^g^ ^|,g ^y^^ „f tj^g citizens, and completely defeated 

his sinister enterprise. 

Under all the embarrassments of the situation, in which 
I found myself, such as I have now described it, and have 
proved it to be; on the eve of a battle, as I belie\ed, with 
an enemy of twice my number; intently engaged in 
making preparations for the conflict ; concealing from 
Swartwout n»y real designs ; doubting his information; 
seeking, with great caution, to extract from him, what- 
ever he knew , or pretended to know ; and then, reflecting 
on and comparing his conversations at difft rent inter- 
views, in order to arrive at the truth ; — under all these 
Difficult difficulties and peiplexities, is it possible any man can 
cucum. jjeiieve that I could, in a shorter period tlian that ac- 

stances ' * , 

under tually employed, have formed an estimate, of the extent 
ne^raMvtl- ^^^ objects of Colonel Burr's project, sufficiently cleai' 
kinsonhad and decisive, to justify a communication to the executive 
todeci e. ^^ express? For, if Swartwout's information was to be 
relied on, it would have been worse than idle, to commu- 
nicate by mail; as my despatch, by that conveyance, 
would have been exposed to be intercepted by the conspi- 
rators. It was essential to my own fame, and to the in- 
terests of my country, that I should be certain before I 
decided ; and should then act with promptitude and effect. 
But why, Mr. President, should I detain the court so 
long, in reasoning upon this point? Have I not, in proof, 
given facts to establish, beyond question, that tlie delay 
of my communication to the President, did not proceed 
from any dishonourable motive on my part ? My conver- 

* See Appendix, No. XCV. — Third Report Commitlee of Con- 
jfi'css, Mr. Bacon chairman, p. 420j 421. 

•J- This letter in the printed Report is, by mistake, dated the 26ih 

* See Appendix, No. XCVI. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 325 

sation with that meritorious veteran of the revolution chap. 
Colonel Gushing, my second in command, on the very ^* 
morning after the arrival of Swartwout at my quarters, General 
has been attested* by him; and, in addition to this inte- Wilkinson 
resting fact, I must call the attention of the court, to the djateiy 
deposition of Colonel Burling, a distinguished and zea- commnni- 
lous patriot; a man whose honour no breath dare sully, infoima- 
who at that time was volunteering: his services against *'"" ^e- 

ceived 

the Spaniards, as my aid-de-camp, and who, to the last fVomSwar- 
hour of his life, occupied the first rank of loyalty to his ^^^^' *° 
country. He proves, tliat on liis arrival at Natchitoches, cashing. 
on the 14th or 15th of October, while Swartwout remain- communl- 
ed there, I lost no time in communicating to him, the nation to, 
project of Colonel Burr, and consulted him on the ciiffi- sultation 
culties of my situation; for while the conspirators ap- ^^'^'^ ^o""" 
peared to be threatening New Orleans, my orders com- ung-. 
manded me, to drive the Spaniards, then in my front, 
to the west of the Sabine. These interesting circum- 
stances being thus established, with what face can the 
most rancorous malice accuse me, of improper con- 
cealment, or of hesitating as to the course I should pur- 
sue? I confess, indeed, on the receipt of the communica- 
tion by Swartwout, my first impulse w as to save, if pos- 
sible, from disgrace and infamy, the man who had been 
my friend ; by shewing to him, the enormity of his views, 
and the desperation of his hopes, and to recal him to 
those principles of honour and patriotism, by which I had 
known him to be actuated. 

I will not detain you, Mr. President, by a minute exa- 
mination of my correspondence, with the Spanish offi- 
cers. I content myself, with referring tlie court, gene- 
rally, to those documents,! and to the deposition^ of 
Colonel Burling on the subject of the negotiation tliat en- 
sued; which will demonstrate my attachment to the service 
of our country, and my anxiety to adjust our differences 
with the Spaniards, that 1 might be enabled, to draw ofTour 

* See Appendix, No. XCII. + See Appendix, No. XCIII. 

+ See Appendix, No. XCVII. 



326 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 

IX. 



The safe- 
ty with 
which 
General 
Wilkinson 
might 
have wait- 
ed the 
chance of 
events. 



ISrr. Do- 
naldson's 
letter re- 
ceived, by 
wliich Ge- 
neral Wil- 
kinson's 
doulitsare 
removed. 



troops iVom the Sabine, to the defence of New Orleans^ 
against the conspirators. If I had faultered in duty at 
that ci'ilical moment; if I Jiad been inclined to close with 
the splendid offers of Colonel Burr; I should have struck 
tlie Spaniards, which my orders would have fully justi- 
fied, and Burr would then have reached New Orleans, 
without opposition; and I could have deliberated on the 
part I should take, with entire safety. It would tlien 
have been seen, whether the conspiracy could succeed or 
not; and without hazai'dijig blame on either side, I should 
have been left at liberty, to take advantage of events, and 
to choose my part. But, Mr. President, I have never 
hesitated, when duty and honour pointed out the way. I 
most anxiously sought to avoid hostilities with the Spa- 
niards, and, at the same time, to maintain the honour of 
our arms, and the interests of the American nation ; and 
my correspondence with the Spanisli governors, will 
shew that I succeeded beyond the expectations of my go- 
vernment. 

I returned to Natchitoches, on the 5th November, from 
my operations against the Spaniards ; and on the next 
morning, I received Doctor Bollman's note of the 27th 
September, 1806, covering Dayton's letter of the 16tli 
July, 1806, with Burr's original letter in cypher, a copy 
of wiiich had been delivered to me by Swartwnut. 

I had scarcely finished reading these letters, when I 
received a despatch from J. L. Donaldson esq.,* dated at 
Natchez, wliicli was decisive on my conduct. I have ob- 
served, that notwithstanding the communications of Swar- 
twout, my mind was not entirely satisfied, and I could 
not give full credit to liis information. But tliis letter of ' 
Mr. Donaldson removed my doubts ; and I lost not a 
moment, after the receipt of it, to put in operation all the 
means I commanded, for repelling the formidable force, 
wliich I now expected would soon be before New Orleans f 
to which capital my eyes were immediately directed, as 



See Appendix, N"o. XCVill. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 327 

my letters* to Colonel Cusliing and Lieutenant-colonel CHAP. 
Freeman, of the 7tli November, 1806, will demonstrate. ^^- 
Tlic conviction produced by Mr. Donaldson's communi- 
cation, determined me to write tlie letter,! of the 12th 
November, to the President, by Mr. Isaac Brings. My 
conversation with that gentleman, as detailed in his tes- 
timony,!: and the tenor of the letter itself, when connect- 
ed with my letters^ of the 20th and 21st October, to the 
same high character, prove indubitably; that I had not 
formed a decided opinion, of the nature and objects of 
Burr's enterprise, before the receipt of Mr. Donaldson's 
letter, — that I then first perceived, it was wholly unau- 
thorised by the government : — highly criminal in the de- 
sign, — most alarming in its extent ; and that I had no 
longer any difficulty, as to the course of conduct, my 
duty, and the interests of the nation, required me to 
pursue. 

In this place, it is proper to introduce my letters|| to Letters to 

Colonel Freeman, who commanded at that time in New ^olonei 
' _ _ Ireeman. 

Orleans, which liave been presented by him, to illustrate 
liis testimony before the court; In that of October 23d, Lieut. 
I wo days after I despatched Lieutenant (now Colonel) p^J,*,^J^"^ 
Smith to tlie President, he is warned, that danger is im- the Prcsi- 
pcnding over New Orleans, and is ordered to hasten the "'^^ 
means of defence ; and the same ideas are held forth in 
my letter^ of the 6tli November, to Major Porter. But 
in my letter of November 12th, the day on wliich my 
communication was made to the President, by Mr. 
Briggs, when I no longer doubted the nature, and objects 
of the conspiracy, I apprised the Colonel, more distinct- 
ly, of the danger which threatened the post of his command; 
urged him to accelerate his defensive operations, and 
pointed out to him the path, I had determined to pursue.. 



* See Appendix, No. XCIX- 

\ See Appendix, No. C. — Third Report Committee of Congress, 
Mr. Bacon chairman, page 425. 
: See Appendix, No. LIX. § See Appendix, No. XCV. 

11 See Appendix, No, CI. If See Appendix, No. CI1. 



3S8 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, and that \vliix:h it was his duty to follow. These letters 

^^" clearly mark my fidelity and my determination; and 

should additional evidence be deemed necessary, to evince 

my integrity, the following letter to Governor Claiborne, 

may, I hope, suffice. 



[SACllipDlY CONIIDENTIAX.} 

« JYatchex>, A'^ovemher 12th, 1806. 
" Sir, 

" I wrote you from Natchitoches on the 8th instant by 
Major Porter, who descends with all the artificers and 
100 men from that place, to be immediately followed by 
Colonel Cusliing, and every other man, but one com- 
pany. 

<• You are surrounded by dangers of wliich you dream 
not, and the destruction of the American government is 
seriously menaced. The storm will probably burst in 
New Orleans, where I shall meet it and triumph or pe- 
rish. The f rench train of Liglit Artillery, is indispen- 
sable to our defence, I therefore conjure you to aid Colo- 
nel B'reeman in getting or taking possession of it. As- 
sist him also in procuring pickets to stockade the town, 
and strengthen the old fortifications -, we shall have a 
thousand regular troops in the city in three weeks, and 1 
look for succour by sea. I have little confidence in your 
militia, yet I trust we may find a few patriotic spirits 
among them. You have spies on every movement and 
dispf)sition, and our safety and success depends vitally 
on the concealment of our intentions. 

« I therefore make this communication, in the most so- 
lemn confidence, and in the name of our cimimon country, 
that you do not breathe nor even hint it to tlie most inti- 
mate friend of your bosom. The reserve may be pain- 
ful, but you must bear it until I see you, which will 
be in a very few days ; and let me entreat you that all 
your measures may be suspended for my arrival, and 
that no emotion may be betrayed. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 329 

« Colonel Freeman's line of conduct has been prescrib- CHAP, 
ed to liim. I shall leave this place the day after to-mor- ^^ 
row, but must dismantle Fort Adams, and remove every 
offensiv^e weapon from it. I fear our government have 
been surprised — but within six days from the present, 
the President will be fully apprised of the plot, which 
implicates thousands ; and auiong them some of your 
particular friends, as well as my own. 1 again solemn- 
ly cliarge you, to hold thLs communication to your own 
breast, (excepting Colonel Freeman.) 

*' I write in haste, and despatch this by express. 
Farewel and God bless you, so long as you may adhere 
to our country, and co-operate in its defence Avith 

(Signed) «JAS. WILKINSON. 

''J\*.B. — Make no newspaper communication of ex- 
pected dangers ; but say the troops are going into win- 
ter quarters in New Orleans, and that the President has 
ordered the old fortifications to be repaired." 

I might here, Mr. President, close my defence on this 

branch of the accusation ; for after the communications 

already shewn, to have been made to the government, and 

my measures of precaution and defence, keeping pace General 

with my information, displayed in my letters to Colonel ^^'1'^'"" 

•' ' X . J son s mea- 

Freeman and Governor Claiboi-ne, to which I will beg sures of 
leave to add, those to Colonel Cusliing and Major Por- f^o^n^" 
ter; and after all the proofs afforded, by my correspond- 
ence with tlie Spanish commanders, of my anxiety to 
avoid hostilities, on the Sabine, on which I have remark- 
ed ; it would seem impossible for the most vindi( live of 
my enemies, to found suspicions on my posterior conduct. 
I had given timely information to the executive ; — I had 
taken tiie most prompt, and efficient measures, to resist 
the conspirators, with tlie forces under my command : — 
I hastened to New Oilcans, where I arrived on the 25th Ills ani- 
November; my conduct there is known to the '>^'0''W ? ode^ns^^ 
a)id if any fault can be imputed to me, surely it is not 

voi. ir. T t 



330 MEMOms BY 

CHAP, that of temporising, half way measures ; — of suftoring tlic 
numberof theconspirators to increase without molestation; 
or of leaving New Orleans exposed to their maclnnations. 
My most bitter calumniators acquit me of these offences. 
Nor can I perceive, liovv the testimony of Colonel Free- 
man, is expected to criminate me. He was, at the time to 
which he makes reference, my second in command at New 
Orleans; Colonel Gushing not having arrived. My let- 
ters of October 23d, and November the "th and 12th, had 
prepared his mind for the explosion, which I expected 
would soon take place, and given him a general idea of the 
dangers,agaiust which mymilitaryprecautions were direct- 
ed. But it would not have comported, with the candour 
and confidence, due to an officer, of his rank and trust, 
if I had withheld from him a full and clear view, of the 
nature of the conspiracy, — the names of the conspirators 
we were tlien preparing to resist, and the means they 
were taking to increase tlieir adherents : and the inter- 
view in his parlour, which the Colonel has introduced, with 
so much solemnity and parade, presented the first oppor- 
tunity, for making the disclosure. As to the conversa- 
tion about the wealth and rank, he might have obtained 
from Burr; the time, place, and manner of it, appear to 
be such, that I wonder how Colonel Freeman, an officer 
so old in service, and accustomed as he has been to the frrc 
and animation, with wldch the approach of danger, never 
fails to inspire the bosom of a soldier, shoidd have trea- 
sured up in his mind, the loose e.xpressions of the moment, 
and thought it necessary to bring them forward, as being 
applicable to this branch of the enquiry. 1 had, in my letter 
of November 12th, communicated to him my determina- 
tion, in language not to be misunderstood. It wouhl be 
ridiculous to suppose, I had changed my purpose, when 
Wilkin- ^y ^^'^^le conduct is attended to. And still more absurd, 
son's real ^I beg the Colonel's pardon) to presume, if such a change 

sent! 



incuts ^^^^^ taken place, that I should have attempted, to seduce 
best ex- l,ini from his duty, in the public street, as well as his 
his official pHvate parlour, without letHng him understand, the alte- 
leiters lo ration my mind had undergone, and assigning the causes 



GENERAL WILKINSON, 331 

(if my defection ; especially, after I liad declared to him, chap. 
in my letter of November 12th, that, "1 have made up '^' 

MY MIND TO PERISH IN THE STORM, IN DEFENCE OF Q^,f^Q^^^l 
THE GOVERNMENT AND INTEGRITY OF THE UNION J AND Freen.an, 
EVERY OFFICER I HAVE THE HONOUR TO COMMAND, g'lbse^ '^ 

WILL DO THE SAME." The best excuse which can be quentcon. 
offered for Lieutenant-colonel Freeman's free gift, on 
this occasion, will be found in His mentaJi 0BLiQ,uiTy 

AND PERSONAL RESENTMENTS. 

Respecting my conduct, after the date of this letter of 
November 12th, until the final defeat of Colonel Burr's 
enterprise, and the arrest of tlje chief, I cannot think it 
necessary, to tax the attention of the court. My corres- 
pondence with the President, which is in testimony before 
you, and the depositions of Colonel Cashing and Captain 
Shaw, of Messrs. Burling, Dinsmoor, and Duncan, and 
the testimony of Lieutenant-colonel Smith, Captain Wil- 
son, and even Lieutenant-colonel Freeman, before the 
court, so distinctly trace the course of my conduct, that 
I have no wish to enlarge on it. Certain it is, that 1 en- 
tertained a high opinion of Colonel Burr's talents, mili- 
tary skill, and undaunted courage ; and the information 
received from all quarters, was so much exaggerated, 
that I hardly expected to defeat the enterprise,* but I 
knew I could find an honourable death, if victory should 
be denied me. Indeed, such was the alarm, — such the 
ramifications of the conspiracy, that I knew not whom to 
trust. I was under the absolute necessity jof wearing an 
equivocal exterior, in order to penetrate the designs of 
the conspirators, and ascertain their numbers. Of this I 
informed the President, in my letter of November 12th, 
and I practised it towards Swartwout, Bollman, Alexan- 
der and others : It iias brought on me an additional load 
of obloquy, but it promoted the best interests of my 
country. 

AVith respect to the erasure in the cyphered letter from 
Burr, delivered to me by Swartwout, it would be barely 
necessary to refer to the deposition, of my counsel A. L. 
Duncan esq., which follows ; whose conduct, character. 



332 MEMOIRS Bt 

CHAP, and standing, as a man of probity and pati'iotisra, place 
^^" him above the suspicion of an un\vf>rthy motive; and will 
justify my reliance on his advice, given to me in liis pro- 
fessional capacity. But to silence cavil, as to the inte- 
grity of my views, in relation to that erasure, it may be 
proper to state, in this place; that together with the let- 
ter of Burr, received by the hands of Svvartwout, at Nat- 
chitoches, about the 8th of October, 1806, and bearing 
date, July £9th ; I, at the same time, ])risented to the 
grand jury, at Richmond, the original of that letter, re- 
ceived at Natchitoches, the morning of the 6th of Nb- 
■vember, in a note from BoUnian, dated New Orleans, 
September 2rth, 1806; which, without the ei-asure of a 
word, was the exact counterpart, except that its date, 
was, I think, the 26th of July, and the name of Bollman, 
in place of Swartwout, with a short postscript, merely 
introductory; yet my enemies, averting their eyes from 
the undefaced original, to tlie defaced duplicate, whrre 
four or five words had been erased and I'estored, have 
laboured to convert an act, not only innocent in its 
nature, but in its policy essential to the public interests, 
into a high misdemeanor. To Mr. Duncan's deposition, 
I will add an extract from that of Thomas Harrison esq., 
to ascertain th« delivery of Burr's two letters in cypher, 
received by Swartwout and Bollman, to the grand jury 
at Richmond. 

Jiffklavit of Jl. L. Duncan esq. 

a During the commotions excited in New Orleans last 
wifiter, by v hat was termed Colonel Burr's conspiracy, 
and his associates and accomplices in that place, I was 
called upon in my professional capacity by General Wil- 
kinson, for counsel and advice in some measuns which 
he was about to adopt. The temper and disposition which 
I had discovered in New" Orleans, and the reports which 
daily reached that city from above, induced tlie belief 
that half measures were not suited to the times, and that 
the public safety required the exertion of extraordinary 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. 833 

energies. I therefore urged the General, repeatedly, to chap. 
the seizure of suspected persons, and the declaration of '^' 
martial law. 

« >¥hen BoUman was seized, I suggested to the Gene- 
ral, the expediency of transmitting with him, a statement 
of facts, on oath, to Justify the step, and to warrant his 
C(»mmitment. He then put the letters, which he said 
were written to him by Colonel Burr, and which he also 
said, were transmitted to him by Swartwout and Boll- 
man, into my hands j on which, together with some fur- 
ther information and knowledge of their views which the 
General possessed, I framed the deposition, intentionally 
omitting every thing which was calculated to inculpate 
the General, or which might, by ext iting suspicions, have 
a tendency to weaken his testimony. 

« Having prepared the deposition, I presented it to 
General Wilkinson, to be deposed to, who strongly and 
repeatedly objected to the omission I had made, and 
urged warmly that the whole ahould be introduced. He 
also desired that a declaration of Bollman, with which 
he frequently interlarded his conversations, should he en- 
tered, viz. 'that he had come to New Orleans, with views 
to the settlement of lands on the Wachita, and was a 
mere spectator.' And it was only after a full exposition 
of the sole objects of the document, that I could prevail 
on him to depose to it. It is idle and absurd to impute 
any sinister intention to the omission, because, on any 
trial which might ensue, it was known tiie original docu- 
ments must be introduced, as they have been. I recol- 
lect, during the winter. General Wilkinson was called be- 
foi-e the legislature of the territory, to give an account 
of the state of public affairs, and he informed me he had 
intended to submit to their inspection, Colonel Burr's 
duplicate, he having erased such parts as had been intended 
to implicate hiniy as he knew several of the members, and 
particularly the speaker, to be interested in opposition to 
his measures, and for the promotion of such a state of 
things, as was best calctdated to favour Colonel Burr's 
enterprise. I understand that the erasure made on this 



334 MEMOlliS BY 

CHAP, duplicate was but partial, the General having deternuned 
*^ to give oral information to the legislature, which employ- 
ed liim two successive days ; and that he considered the 
duplicate unimportant, (whilst the original has been pre- 
served untouched) excepting the short paragraph rela- 
tive to Bollman, which is j)reserved in its original state, 
and the o)ily words erased, " your letter post-marked 
13th May, is received" have been reinserted in the Gene- 
ral's own hand. On or about the 15th of August, since 
my arrival in this city. General Wilkinson put into my 
hands and those of J. L. Donaldson esq. four or five let- 
ters, observing to us, «< I submit to you those letters 
which I have not examined since I left St. Louis j they 
are for Colonel Burr. I do not recollect their particular 
contents, but having recmved them in confidence, and know- 
ing they blend personalities with politics, I Jiave not permit- 
ted myself to re-examine tliem, because I feel an insuperable 
repngnance to violate the trust of any man. I give them to 
you, here is the i^plier, decipher them, consider their 
contents well, and then inform me whether their promul- 
gation may he necessary to my honour." We did so, 
and we gave the General our opinion, that the promul- 
gation might be necessary and proper. — From an exami- 
nation of those letters, and the General's evident sur- 
prise, and prompt declaration of his ignorance, when we 
communicated certain passages of these letters, it was my 
own and Mr. Donaldson's opinion that he had but par- 
tially decyphcred them. 

«'In answer to interrogatories on the part of Colonel 
Burr, I recollect to have solicited the command of a par- 
ty to Natchez, for the purpose of arresting Colonel Burr, 
and discovered from the instructions which the General 
possessed, together with the state of things at that period, 
that the measure was warrantable ; and having seen 
several communications from the government to General 
Wilkinson, and particularly that in reply to his letter of 
the 21st October, I had no doubt of the sanction of go- 
vernment to any measures which were calculated to de- 
feat the views of Colonel Burr. I have seen conimuni- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 335 

t lions of a confidential nature from the President to ciIAP. 
ijreneral Wilkijison, and I believe, in reply to the Gene- *^- 
ral's letter of the 21st of October. 

(Signed) "A. L. DUNCAN. 

« City of Richmond, set. 
*• Sworn to and subscribed, before me, this 5th day of 
September, 1807. 

(Signed) "HENRY S. SHORE. 

1 TRUE COPT, Teste, 

(Signed) « WILLIAM MARSHALL, Clerk." 

.inswers of Thomas Harrison jun., to interrogatories svJb- 
mitted by General James Willdnson. 

« Were you not a member of the grand jury whicli in- 
dicted Aaron Burr for treason against tlie United States, 
pending the Circuit Court at Richmond, in Virginia;, 
during the May term, 1807 ? 

<« Answer. — I was. 

"Did General Wilkinson produce to tlie grand jury 
two cyphered letters from Burr to him, which were the 
exact duplicates of each other, (with the exception of the 
different references therein made to Swartwoiit and Boll- 
man) the one stated by him, to have been received by 
Swartwout, and the other by Bollman ? 

*^ Answer. — There were two such letters produced, 
both I think by General Wilkinson, which were dupli- 
cates of eacli other, (excepting tlie different references to 
Bollman and Swartwout) in the one which he stated to 
liave received by Swartwout, the words, <« Yours, post- 
marked, the 13th of May, is received," appeared to have 
been erased, and again restored, in a different hand writ- 
ing from the body of the letter ; and in the one stated to 
have been received by Bollman, there were no erasures 
or alterations that I recollect. 

" Verified on oath, before 

"E. BACON, 
« Chairman of a committee, ^c." 



336 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. I approach, Mr. President, towards the conclusion of 
^^' this enquiry. I do not mean to remark on the testimony =* 
of Mr. Tazewell and Mr. Taylor, of the grand Jury, who 
found the indictment against Colonel Burr, as 1 am at a 
loss to know, what fact is meant to he ostahlished by it, 
tending to impeach my honour. If, indeed, it is meant 
to say, that I concealed from the President the name of 
General Dayton as a conspirator, it is answered, at once, 
by my verbal communication to the President, through 
Mr. Briggs.f the bearer of my despatch of Nov. 12th, 
and by the President's letter:}: to me of June 22d, 1807, 

* It has been examined in the first volume of this work. 
\ See Appendix, No. LVIII. — Third Report Committee of Con~ 
gi-ess, Mr. Bacon chairman, p. 269 — 272. 

t JW: Jefferson to General Wilkinson. 

" The enclosed is found since mine to you, covering another. 

♦' TH : JEFFERSON 

" Washington, June 22, 1807." 

The following is the paper enclosed in the preceding note of the 
president Mr. Jefferson. 

«' JVew Orleans, Feb. 17th, 1807. 

" Your letters by Swartwout and BoUman both reached my hand at 
Natchitoches. Such letters from you, I had no right to expect, and 
ought never to have received. What sentiment have you ever heard 
from me — what tint of character have you ever observed in me, to 
warrant the conclusion, that I was capable of any act of dishonour, 
much less the very fouk-st of all infamous crimes, military treason ? 
The acts, the wiles, the audacity and falsehoods of Mr. Burr, certain- 
ly surpass all example; but being on the spot, and near the seat of 
government, he should not have cheated your jud^^ment, nor imposed 
on your understanding; you could have detected his impious de- 
signs against our country, for which we all staked our lives, and it 
was your solemn duty to have exposed them. 

" 1 hold your letters, and shall not employ them, if you will come 
forward whenever a trial may ensue, atid on oath circumstantiate ihe 
grounds on which they were founded. This you owe to me, and to 
the public; and I shall expect your conformity to this proposition. I 
have treated your nephew as you desired: that is, I seized and sent 
him out of the way of temptation to some overt act, wliich might 
have forfeited his life. Your son. Major Dayton, is here; and how I 
have treated him, I will leave it to himself to inform you. I send Uiis 



I 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 337 

returnin.a^ a letter from myself to General Dayton, bear- chap. 
ing date B'eb. 17th, 1807, which I had sent the President '^" 
from New Orleans, and subjected to his discretion. 

The public alarm and suspicion, as jjroved by Mr. 
Todd,* and the language of Burr, when arrested in his 
career, as proved by Mr. Poindexter,f close the long* list 
of accusations against me; and to them I will answer in 

letter to Baltimore, by the ship Comet, and shall expect your answer 
by mail, transmitted in a blank to the secretary of war. 

(Signed) "JAMES WILKINSOST. 

" Jonathan Dayton esq." 

* Extract from the examination of Judge Todd. 

" Question by Colonel Burr. — Was there a good deal of alarm among 
the people ? 

*' uinsiver. — There was. 

" Colonel Burr. — Was that owing to any acts which I had done ? 

" Ans-wer. — I saw publications in the prlntS) stating, that prepara= 
tiions were making of boats and provisions in the state of Ohio : a pub* 
lication also appeared in the ' Western World,' under the signature of 
an 'Observer,' which excited a good deal of alarm. 

" Colonel Burr. — How many years have you been a resident of Ken- 
tucky ? 

" Ans-Mcr. — Ever since 1786. 

" Colonel Burr. — Can you state what Ivas been the general reputa- 
tion of General Wilkinson for tlie last four or five years ? 

" Answer. — For the last four or five years I have not seen General 
Wilkinson. 

" Mr. Wirt. — His reputation as to what ? 

" Colonel Burr — As to integrity and iruth. 

" Ansiver. — / never heard that questioned. For the last twelve 
months, there has been an unfavourable opinion against him, owing 
to his official and public conduct ; but I never heard any thing against 
him, but what related lo his official and public conduct. There iiave 
, been publlcaiions and republications circulated, injurious to him, but 
whether true or false, I cannot say." Burr's Trial, p. 20, 21, Second 
Series. 

f Extract from the evidence of George Poindextcr esq. 

Colonel Burr then expressed himself to this effect: " As to any 
projects or pluns which may have been formed beiwcen General Wil- 
kinson and myself heretofore, they are now compleiely frustrated by 
the perfidious condud of Wilkinson; and the world must pronounce 
h rn a perfi.lious villain." Burr also, in speakmi of Wilkinson, said, 
•' If 1 am sacrificed, my port tblio will prove him to be a villain." 
Burr's Trial, p. 270, First Series. 

▼OL. IL U u 



338 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
IX. 



The de- 
struction 
of General 
Wilkin- 
son's re- 
putation 
essential 
to Burr's 
success, 
and there- 
fore at- 
tempted 
by him 
and his 
associates. 



General 
Wilkin, 
son's con- 
solation, 
under an 
accamu- 



a few words, by enquiring whether it has come to this, 
that I am to be condemned, because I have been calum- 
niated? Forwliat, Sir, is the langauge of Burr? and wha( 
arc these things, termed public suspicions, against me; 
but calumnies unsupported by proofs; — originating with 
the worst of men, engaged in the worst of causes. For 
who were my first accusers? — the conspirators them- 
selves. They well knew, that being at the head of the 
army, it was in my power to oppose a more effectual 
barrier to their sinister ambition, than any other indivi- 
dual; and therefore, it was of the first importance to 
them, to destroy my usefulness, by depriving mc of the 
confidence of those, whom I wisiied to serve. It was foi 
this wicked purpose, that the integrity of my conduct 
and motives, was so violently assailed in certain public'] 
prints, as soon as the conspiracy had been determined on. 
If they could have robbed me of the confidence of my fel- 
low citizens, and the army, my resistance must havi 
been feeble and ineffectual. And while t'ney were sock- 
ing to weaken my strength, by overwhelming me withl 
suspicion, (unparalleled baseness!) they* endeavoured to-i 
add tlie weight and influence of my name, whatever it 
might be, to their own cause, by claiming mc as an as- 
sociate ; and perhaps they were not without hoj)es, that 
my country, deluded by the calumnies they were heaping 
upon me, might treat me with distrust ; and that, driver 
to desperation by my wrongs, I might, in a moment ol 
impatience, throw myself into their polluted arms. Thej 
were mistaken; — and I have, at this moment, the prout 
consolation of knowing, that the man who now standsl 
before you, Mr. President and gentlemen of the court,! 



* Extract from the testimony of Robert Wallace, a witness oii| 
Burr's trial at Richmond, Sept. 25th, 1807. 

'• Mr Blcnnerhassett was at my father's house afterwards, and I was 
in the room, when he offered my brother the place of surgeon gene- 
ral. My father told Mr. Blcnnerhassett he had better give up the en- 
terprise, and stay at home on his island ; that it was impossible he 
could succeed; that his force was too small, and the opposition too 
great. Mr. Blennerhassett said General Wilkinson and the arm\ 
would join." Seepage 161, First Series. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 339 

arraigned as a traitor; stigmatised as a corrupt pensioner chap. 
of Spain ; charged as the unfeeling murderer of his own '^• 
soldiers ; and accused even of the meanest peculations ; — j^^j^^^ ^^ 
that this man, Sir, has been the instrument under God, unmerited 
of preserving the integrity of the union, and saving the ^l^^^' 
United States from the horrors, and calamities of a civil 
war. Yes, Sir, it is to these services, I owe these accu- 
sations. — The hopes of rapine and plunder, the dreams 
of ambition, and the prospect of wealth and power, have 
been destroyed by my exertions; and revenge, the black 
revenge of traitors, is all that is left them, to sweeten the 
bitterness of disappointment. It is no small proof of the Thepower 
power, extent and influence, of those who were leagued spirators 

together in this conspiracy, tliat they have, by their ca- proved by 

t he 6xt6nt 
lumnics, been so long able, to delude many, even, of the of their 

honest and intelligent, and to persecute with so much delusions, 
success, the man by whom they were defeated. I must eifectthey 
be permitted to believe, that to their industry, their Produced 
falsehoods, their machinations and perjuries, may be at- ing about 
tributed, the whole of the rigid scrutiny, that my con- ^^'.® ^"* 
duct, for the last tw^enty-tvvo years of my life, has under- 
gone, before the tribunal I have the honour to address- 
Had it not been my fortune, to incur their hatred, by my 
fidelity, and my services to my country, it would never 
have been found necessary, (and it is not for me to 

SAY THE NECESSITY DID NOT EXIST,) tO put me OU 

trial, for any one, of the long list of offences, now im- 
puted to me. THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN TREAT- 
ED WITH THE SCORN AND CONTEMPT THEY 
MERIT. 



34« MEMOIRS BV 



CHAP. 
X. 



CHAPTER X. 

Sixth and seventh charges considered. — Foreign relations 
oj'the United States in the autumn of 1808. — Executive re- 
ceives advice of the provisional arrangements of the British 
cabinets to take possession of A'*ew Orleans. — An armament 
ordered for the defence of that city. — General Wilkinson 
addresses the secretary of war, on several important to- 
j)ics. — General ff'ilkinson arrives at A^exv Orleans. — De- 
plorable condition of the army. — General order ^Id April. 
— Letters to the secretary of war, from the 19 /A of April 
to the 5th June. — Those letters examined. — Monsti'ous 
calnmny detected and refuted. — Depositions of John De 
Lassize. — Of Bore, Le Blanc, Montegut and Dow. — Let- 
ter from the secretary of war, of 27th April. — To the se- 
cretary of war, of June llth. — From the secretary of war, 
of April SOth. — General JFilkinson's letter to the secretary 
of war, of June 18. — The secretary ofwar^s letter of 24th 
February, 1810, to Mr. JVewton, chairman of committee 
of Congress. — The secretary of war^s letter to General 
Wikinson, of 22d of June, referred to. — The charge of 
disobedience of orders repelled. — Ingcuions method of prov- 
ing the receipt of a. letter, by shelving the departure and 
arrival of the mail. — Extracts from the depositions of 
Captain Christie, Doctors ,M*Cauley and Daniel, referred 
to.' — Letter of the 22rf June containing the secretary of war^s 
order, to remove the troopsfrom Tcrre au Boeuf, to the high 
grounds of Fort Adams and JK'^atchez. — Letter of the se- 
cretary of the navy to Captain Porter respecting gnn- 
boats. — Reflections on the secretary of war's letter of the 
22d June. — General Wdkinson^s bad state of health, and 
ether reasons, induces him to act on the letter of the 22rf 
June, in opposition to his own experience and opinions. — 
Advice of respectable persons in support of General WU- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 341 

kinson's opinion^ quoted. — General Wilkinson'' s kiter to 
the secretary of war, in answer to his of the 22rf June. — 
Refledions on military command, and the responsibility 
attached to it. — The idea of commanding an army by dis- 
tant councils, reprobated, and the authorities of Sir Guy 
Carlton and Marshal Berthier, quoted. 

I NOW come, gentleman, to the sixth and seventh ^jjAP 
charges, which are studiously designed, to destroy the X. 
reputation of the soldier, and to wound the character of ^'^'''"'''^**' 
the man ; and are so utterly destitute of foundation, that 
I could safely rest the issue, on the authentic documents, 
which have been submitted to this court; and the testimo- 
ny which has come out, on the examination of the wit- 
nesses, produced on the part of the prosecution : but I owe 
it to myself, to the court, to my profession and the woi'ld, 
to make such explanations, as may elucidate the transac- 
tions of the campaign, 1809; and place my whole conduct 
before the public, from the time I was ordered to take 
tj»e unsolicited, and tunvelcome command on the Missis- 
sippi, until my unexpected recal. 

jMy solicitude to save the time of the court, will ex- 
clude avoidable details, and confine me to the recital of 
facts and testimonies, essential to shew, that to the faith- 
ful, zealous, active discharge of every incumbent duty, I 
united the respect due to the public authority, with an in- 
terest for the private credit of the gentleman, who had 
been recently called to the liead of the war department. 

It will be recollected, that in December, 1808, our fo- Foreign 
reign relations had assumed such an aspect, as to produce relations 
a general impression, that the country was on the eve of United 

hostilities with Great Britain : at the above period, the ^^^*'^l^^a 

' * ' year 1808. 

executive received advice, that the disposable force at —The in- 
H lifax, under Sir George Prevost, was held there in greitVrl 
readiness for service, in the West Indies, or to take pos- tain to 
session of New Orleans, if our troops should make a sessioi?of 
northern movement ; and hold it as an equivalent, for New Or- 
whatever they might lose, on the side of Canada and ^^"^' 
Nova Scotia. 



S43 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. The receipt of this information, determined the cabi- 
^* net to reinforce our feeble defences, on the Mississippi, 
and on the 2d of December, 1808, I received the follow- 
ing orders : 

« FTar Department, Dec. 2d, 1808. 
. •<Sir, 

« I am directed by tlic President of the United States, 
to have the necessary measures taken without delay, for 
assembling as large a proportion of our regular troops, 
at New Orleans, and its vicinity, as circumstances will 
permit. 

<« You will please, tlierefore, to issue preparatory or- 
ders, for the transportation to New Orleans of the 3d, 
5th, and 7th regiments of infantry, witli a battalion con- 
sisting of four companies, from the 6th regiment, toge- 
ther with the companies of liglit dragoons, light artillery 
and riflemen, raised in the states, and territoi'ies south- 
ward of New Jersey. 

« The troops generally, in the Atlantic states, sliould 
be assembled at Savannah, Charleston, South Carolina, 
Norfolk and Hoods, Fort M'Henry and Fort Mifllin, 
where suitable vessels will be provided for their trans- 
portation. 

<*The troops raised in the western states, together 
with the late Captain Bissel's company, will be provided 
with suitable boats, for descending the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi. Captain Boote's company should march by land, 
from the Ockmulgee to Fort Stoddart, or Fort St. 
Stevens. 

« Field officers of each regiment of infantry, and one 
field officer of the corps of light dragoons, light artillery 
and riflemen, respectively, should be marched with their 
corps; and a Major with the battalion of the 6th regi- 
ment of infantry, together with the Sargeons and Mates 
of the regiments of infantry; a Surgeon to the respective 
corps of dragoons, artillery and riflemen, and a Mate 
with the battalion of the 6th regiment of infantry. Pro- 
visions for seventy-five days, with a supply of water for 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ;343 

thirty-five days, should be put on boai'd of each vessel, chap. 
for the men on board. 

•« Medicine and hospital stores, camp kettle, &c. &c. 
will be forwarded with ammunition and tents. 

« In giving your orders, for the assemblage of the 
troops at the different points, it will not be necessary to 
give any indications, of their ultimate destination. 

" One subaltern of each company, best qualified for 
the recruiting service, should remain at the respec- 
tive rendezvous, with instructions to continue that ser- 
vice with all possible industry; and to have their re- 
cruits assembled at the garrisons on the sea-board of the 
respective Atlantic states ; and at Newport, in Kentucky, 
and Massac, from the western states : it may, however, 
be advisable, to direct the recruits, enlisted in the inte- 
rior of Pennsylvania and Virginia, to assemble on the 
western waters. 

« You will please to take measures for being at New General 
Orleans, in season to take connnand of the army, in that ordered"" 
department, as early as practicable; and to have such to take 

command 
A DISPOSITION OF THE TROOPS, IN THAT DEPARTMENT, ^f ^ force 

FORMED, AS WllL MOST EFFECTU.ilLY ENABLE TOU, for the 

TVT ^ defence of 

TO DEFEND NeW ORLEANS, AND ITS DEPENDENCIES, ^g^^ Or- 

AGAiNST ANT INVADING FORCE. In casc of emergency, i^^^s. 
you are authorised by the President of the United States, 
to call on the governors of New Orleans, and Missis- 
sippi territories, for such detachments of the militia, as 
may be deemed necessary. 

«« I am, &c. 
(Signed) « H. DEARBORN. 

*< To General James Wilkinson" 

It will be perceived that these orders, being given in de- 
tail, took from me all discretion, in respect to the march 
routes, and rendezvous of the troops ; and our levies, 
were accordingly put in motion, from theii- several can- 
tonments, under the preceding directions from the secre- 
iiUY of war. 



344 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. The season was inclpmcnt, and the sufferings* of 
^ those recruits, under inexperienced officers, were ex- 
treme, which no doubt contributed, to prepare their sys- 
tems, for the afflictions which ensued, on their arrival at 
the Mississippi; for numbers fell sick on entering that 
river, before they reached New Orleans.f 

As I shall rest much of my vindication, in relation t» 
the disposition of the troops under my command, on 
these orders from the secretary of war, I must beg leave 
to call the particular attention of the coui-t, to their pre- 
cise and imperative tenor, as they respect « the defence of 
the city of JSfeiv Orleans and its dependencies." 

I embarked at Baltimore, on tlie 24th of January, 
1809, and touched at Annapolis, Norfolk and Charleston, 
to put the troops in motion from those places, and attend 
to other objects of public duty. 

From Charleston, I sailed the l!2th of March, on board 
the Hornet sloop of war. I called at the Havanna, and 
Pensacola, on my voyage, under a special mission from 
the executive of the United States, and cast anchor at 
the mouth of the Mississippi, on the 13th of April. 

At this jjcriod, while on ship board, and an himdred 
miles from the point of my destination, my solicitudes 
for the interests of the service, and my anxiety to keep 
the secretary of war constantly advised, of my views and 
intentions, induced me to address him the following let- 
ter; in whicli, the court will perceive, I hastily touched 
certain topics, which claimed the earliest attention, and 
explained to him my purpose, to encamp the troops as ex- 
peditiously as possible. 

" Hornet sloop of war — off the Mississippi, 
'•' Sir, « Jpril iSth, 1809. 

« I expect to cast anchor in the course of the day, and 
to leave the brig to-morrow morning, for New Orleans. 

* In stating this fact, the expediency of the movement is not ques- 
tioned. 

t See Appendix, No. CIIL—Colonel Parker's return for March, 
with the report annexed. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S^5 

I avail myself of the interval, to make up a duplicate of CHAP, 
my comnumicatiojis from the Havainia and Pensacola; 
and will take the liberty td press upon your attention, a 
few observations relative to the service. 

« The prompt and punctual, montlily, payment of the Thene- 
army, is not only essential to the comfort and accommo- ^e^uiYr 
dation of the men and officers, but is vitally important payment 
to the subordination, and good order of the troops ; for °j.oop^- 
the receipt of fifty and eighty dollars at a time, is too 
much for the discretion of a private soldier. 

" The law directs the payment e\ery two months ; but 
by a blind adiierence to antiquated rules, the troops are 
generally five months, and frequently six, eight, and 
even twelve months in arrears. What is tie remedy for 
tliis evil ? Appoint suitable persons for deputy paymas- 
ters; let them give the security necessary to indemnify 
the public; then instruct them to draw on their responsi- 
bility, and transmit their abstracts and vouchers to the 
pay office quarterly. 

« The awfully critical situation of Spanish Amcricai ini- Critical 
litnoudij enjoins it on ■2ts, to strengthen this feeble, remote, of Spanish 
and exposed quarter; I will, therefore, hope you may '^!"'\'^'^,'*^ . 
think proper to press the recruiting service, and to hurry 
forward the recruits. Great Britain has now a disposa- 
ble force, of six thousand men in the West Indies. 

«< The health, morals, and discipline of the troops, will 
oblig' me to leave New Orleans without delay; I shall 
therefore seek a proper position, and encamp them as ex- 
peditiously as possible ; but let me beseech you to send 
me some person, competent to discharge the important 
functions uf Quarter-master-gcneral, to an army of seve- 
ral thousand men ; and permit me to observe, that I know 
no man, more competent to the duties of such an office, 
or more confidential, than Colonel Elie Williams, bro- 
ther of the late General Otho H. Williams, and well 
known to the secretary of the navy. 

«« I have heard at Pensacola, that works are erecting 
at the English Turn, on the Mississippi, and the moutk 
vol.. II-. X X 



316 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, of the Bayou St. John, on Lake Pontchartrain. The 
^ first is fifteen, and the last four miles from New Orleans, 
an open, unfortified and defenceless place; either of 
those posts may be invested, or turned, and our main 
points of defence, must be many leagues in front of tltera. 
General Dearborn must have been imposed on, in the 
adoption of those sites, for defensive w^orks, and the 
execution, will be a waste of treasure, which might be 
well ajjplied elswhcre. I consider it my duty, thus early, 
to place these facts before you. 

*«To organise, form, train and discipline a body of 
raw recruits, such as I shall find at New Orleans, you 
well know, will be no light task ; yet I am conscious, tliat 
your co-operation and support, will ensure the end, and 
without it we can attain neither order, decorum, )ior 
subordination. 

" I am. Sir, ^c. 
(Signed) "JAMES AyiLKlNSO>. 

« The Hon. the Secretary of War.^' 

General Tliis despatch being made up, and committed to the 

Wilkinson gij^j-ge of Captain Dent of the navy, I took passage on 
New Or- board the Revenue Cutter, and reached New Orleans, on 
le^ns. ^^^ jgj.jj of April j but I remain to this day, insensible of 
the effect of this letter, because it has not yet been an- 
swered or acknowledged; and, tlierefore, my judges will 
decide, whether it savours of professional ignorance, in- 
fidelity to the state, or inattention to the various interests, 
committed to my charge; or, whether, it manifests, vigi- 
lance, precaution, and an attentive regard, not only to 
every object of my trust, but to interests of national im- 
portance, beyond the sphere of my responsibility. 
Deplora- The season had become oppressively warm before 1 
of^the^^^ landed, and 1 found the state of the service deplorable in- 
army, deed; picture to yourselves, gentlcmeH, a body of two 
thousand, undisciplined recruits, men and officers (with a 
few exceptions) sunk in indolence and dissipation ; without 
subordination, discipline or police, and nearly on^'-third 
of them sick : extend your prospects, gentlemen, to an 



I 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 34^ 

army without land, or water transport, for a single com- chap. 
pany ; medical assistance for two thousand men, depend- 
ent on two Surgeons, and two Mates, one of the former 
confined to his bed j a majority of the corps, without pay- 
masters; the men deserting by squads; the military agent, 
i-eprcsenting the Quarter-master's department, without a 
cent in his chest, his bills* protested, and he on the eve 
of shutting up his office; a great deficiency of camp equi- 
page; not a haversack in store; the medicinesf and hos- 
pital stores, scarcely sufficient for a private practitioner; 
and you may, then, form a correct idea of the condition, 
in which I found the detachment of recruits, at New Or- 
leans, under tlie orders of Colonel Alexander Parker; 
and will he enabled, to make a fair estimate, of the diffi- 
culties which stared me in the face, at the threshold of 
my command. 

If [ had anticipated, in ray letter to the secretary of 
war, of the 13th of April, the necessity of a prompt re- 
moval of the troops, from New Orleans, the scenes which 
caught my attention on my arrival there, determined me 
■ > accelerate the measure, and to this end, I issued the 

illowing general order, on the third day after my arrival. 

« Head ^nai'ters, J\''exv Orleans, 
« ^pril 22fZ, 1809. 
*•' The troops will take the field, so soon as the neces- 
sary arrangements can he compassed. The military 
agent, is to provide curtains, for the front of the tents, to 
protect the men against sand flies, and musquitoes, to 
be delivered to the commanding officers of companies, in x 
the proportion, of one to every six men ; and those offi- 
cers are to be held responsible for them ; one hundred 
single bars (or musquitoe curtains) are to be provided for 
the field hospital." 

But the uncommon swell of the vernal flood, and the 
• Impst daily showers of rain, which fell in May, saturated 

;* See Appendis, No. CIV. t See Appendix, No. CV. 



348 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP, the earth to its surface, and continued it too wet, for the ei*- 
campincntof the troops, until the beginning of June; dur- 
ing the interval, I was assiduously occupied, in rcconnoi- 
tering the country, for a suitable position ; in endeavouring 
to correct the vicious liabits of men, and officers ; in provid- 
ing for their accommodation, comfort, and health ; in la- 
bouring to inculcate a proper sense of discipline, police, and 
professional pride ; and to extract order out of anarc hy. 

It is not in my power, to pourtray more strongly, my 
solicitudes for the public service, during the period of my 
command, in the city of New Orleans; or to give a more 
faithful description, of the actual state of the service, at 
the same period; than by a reference to my letters, to the 
secretary of war, bearing date, from the 19th of April, 
to the 5th of June, to all of which I shall, presently, crave 
your attention. At that day, when exerting every nerve 
in discharge ef my duty, it was impossible I should sus- 
pect, that my enemies were conspiring against my life 
and honour; nor could I imagine, after the course I had 
run, and the acknowledged services, I had i-endered to 
my country, that I was so soon to become the victim of 
traitorous revenge, popular prejudice, and pnblic perse- 
cution. 

The letters written, at that time, could not have been 
intended for publication, and nought but the defence of 
my honour, could justify their exposition at this period. 

I ask this court, whether those letters do not furnish 
the strongest evidence, of the candour of my interpreta- 
tion of my orders, of the 2d of December, 1808; and, 
when taken in connexion witli my own general orders, 
issued at New Orleans, they must, I confidently trust, so 
fully explain the motives which governed my conduct, at 
that stage of the season, as to dissipate suspicions, and 
silence slander. 

Ordered to «the defexce, of tjfie capital of 
Louisiana, agaixst a maritime invasion," it be- 



deneral 
Wilkin- 
son's ob- 
jects in 
selecting 



came my primary duty, to select the position. 



for°the°" ^lOST FAVOURABLE TO THE MAIN OBJECT OF MT COM- 

arroy. MAND; after which, the health and discipline of i\\Q 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. 349 

troops, claimed my care and attention ; how far I exe- chap. 
cutcd my orders, and fulfilled the obligations of a faithful 
commander, my correspondence with the secretary of 
war, and the mass of written and parole evidence offered 
to the court, will demonstrate. 

It has been seen, that in my letter of the ISth of April, 
wi'ittcn on board the Hornet, I expressed to the secretary 
of war, my determination to encamp the troops, as expe- 
ditiously as possible, from regard to their health, morals 
and discipline ; and in that of the 1 9th of the same month, 
after describing the difficulties I liad to combat, with re- 
spect to the military agency, I continue on the same topic. 

<< The expense of quarters is enormous, and we have 
more than four hundred sick. 

"The troops must be removed, so soon as I can find 
a suitable position to receive them | and this, again, will 
involve expense, for I do not believe, we have transport, 
by land or water, for one hundred men. 

"If we have not peace with Great Britain, the whole 
force destined to this quarter, should be pressed forward, 
because she can, at her will, take possession of West 
Florida: give me leave, and I will anticipate her; this 
step, however, will require consideration, as it may affect 
Cuba and Mexico to our injury.'* 

On the 2ith, I thus addressed the secretary of war. 

" Since writing you yesterday, I am apprised, by the 
military agent, that we have only thirty horsemens', and 
four hundred common tents, in store, and not a single 
marquee. 

" Tlie horsemens' tents, w ill not suffice for a regiment, 
which leaves me embarrassed in the extreme : I know not 
what plan to adopt, and tremble at the idea of expense, 
although, I perceive, more than forty thousand dollars, 
have been expended already, in useless fortifications. 

" I shall decide, and act for the best of the service, and 
the safety of the troops." 



350 JMEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, On the 1st of May, I made the followhig conimunica- 
■^' tion, to the same gentleman. 

<'The vernal flood menaces the country, with a gene- 
ral inundation; and the earth is so completely saturated, 
that it will be impossible, to encamp the troops, bcfoi'e 
tlic waters subside a few feet. 

« The variety, and the interests of my public engage- 
ments, have, still, put it out of my power, to reconnoitre 
for a suitable position ; but this enquiry will occujiy me, 
the moment I have finished with Governor Folch, who is 
now here. 

" The report inclosed, will give you our whole force at 
this place; the sick list is alarming, but the complaints 
arc, generally, simple, and, being mostly of the bowels, 
are ascribablc to a change of diet, and the water of the 
Mississippi." 

In the review of tliis correspondence, I now come to 
my letter, of the 12th of May, 1809, in which I not only 
detail, to the secretary, the contemplated disposition of 
the troops, for the season, and tho motives, on wliich 
such disposition Mas grounded, keeping in view ray or- 
ders of the 2d December, 1808: but yielding to the united 
impressions of public duty, and personal attachment, I 
endeavoured to aid liim, in the discharge of the functions 
of his office, to which he was necessarily a stranger ; by 
pointing out the defects, derangement, and disorganisa- 
tion, which had crept into every department of the army; 
and to these offerings of professional duty, and private 
feeling, I vojitured to add, such salutary suggestions as 
will, it is humbly presumed, be approved of by every 
member of tliis court, and all otber military men of ex- 
perience. 

The importance of tliis document, gives it a claim to - 
insertion, at large, in this place. 



GENERiVL WILKINSON. 351 

« Head Quarters, JVfew Orleans, chap. 
*'May 12th, 1809. s^r>i^ 

'^ Sir, 

<• An almost iucossaiit fall of rain, and tlie inundated 
condition of the country, have, hitherto, prevented my 
searching for a position, on which to encamp the troops; 
but I shall proceed on that duty to-morrow week, and 
trust, we shall be under canvas by the 10th proximo ; 
an object of great interest, as it relates to our healtli, and, 
also, the public expense; the rent for quarters, exceeding 
two thousand dollars per month. 

« The disposition, I contemplate for thp troops, will 
be, one company at Natchitoches, nine at, or near, Fort 
Adams, two on the Mobile, one at Plaquemine, two in 
this city, and the new corps encamped in such a posi- 
tion, if it can be found, as will enable me, with the great- 
est piomptitiide, to meet an attack by the River Teche, 
Barrataria, the Mississippi, the Lakes, or West Florida; 
whicli comprehends our line of defence, and embraces a 
distance, of about one hundred leagues. 

« Natchitoches, being our barrier on the side of Mex- 
ico, I x:onsider it perfectly safe. 

*« The troops at Fort Adams, will be held in readi- 
ness to descend the river, or to march into West Flori- 
da on the shortest notice : I decline moving them, be- 
cause the position is a healthy one; the men are in com- 
fortable huts, and the measure would involve several 
thousand dollars expense. 

*< The command on the Tombigbee will be ordered, Disposi- 
should any foreign force land at Pensacola or Mobile, to case^ofin- 
drive every hoof from that quarter, in order to deprive vasion. 
the enemy of land transport ; and the garrison of Plaque- 
mine will suffice, in co-operation with the gun-boats, to 
command the river. 

" I found every thing here so utterly disorganised, 
that I must be excused, until the next mail, for a detailed 
exposition of the real condition of the service; it is, how- 
evci", necessary I should call your attention to a few ob- 
irrt>^.. without further delav. 



B52 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP 
X. 



Thedisad 
vanlages 
and im- 
propriety 
of a secre- 
tary of 
war is- 
suing or- 
dets to 
officers, 
otherwise 
than 
through 
the gene- 
ral com- 
manding 
in chief. 



« The documents, under the envelope, marked No. T. 4p 
will shew you that your predecessor, at fifteen hundred 
milt'S distance, reserved to himsell', the right of com» 
mandiug in detail, and of prostrating the rank and the 
authority of the commanding officer; by supporting a cor- 
respondence rvith, and issuing various orders to his subor- 
dindteSf without his privity, on points of duty and objectif 
of service, purely military; whichf of right and in pro- 
priety, appertained to the senior officer of the department. 

" I mean not, Sir, to question the motives, wliich di- 
rected this conduct, because the integrity and tlie pa- 
triotism of the source whence they sprung, is unques- 
tionable; but I need not say to you, that, in military 
institutions, there is but one channel, throngh which or- 
ders may be disseminated; that subordination and disci- 
pline, can be attained and maintained, only by the uni- 
form and invariable support, of those gradations of 
authority, which commence at the ranks, and ascend to 
the chief: destroy one link of this chain, and you dislo- 
cate the machinery, introduce anarchy, and annihilate 
responsibility, Avhich is the life and soul of the service; 
the moment a minister opens a correspondence, with the 
subordinates of a military commander, he encoui'ages in- 
subordination, betrays a want of confidence in the officer, 
in trust for the state, wounds his authority, and impairs 
his obligations to the service. 

« You v.ill pardon. Sir, the candour of these observa- 
tions, which are excited by a sacred regard, to tlie vital 
interests of the army, and the public weal ; and are not 
intended to give oftenre to the gentleman, who, doubtless 
with the ])urest intentions, has unhinged all tliose radical 
principles and practices, of duty and of service; which 
formed the rule of our conduct, during the revolution- 
ary war; which, at present, govern the armies of ¥.n- 
rope, and without which, we can have nothing but the 
name of an army. 

« I beg to call your attention to the extract of Colonel 
Cushing's letter to me, of the 18th of January last, co- 
vering his correspondence with the military agent, the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 353 

llrsecretary of war's instructious to that agent, of tlie 26th chap. 

of AifHl, 1808, and his orders to Colonel Gushing of the ^' 

22d of December of the same year; therein you will per- rj,^^^ ^ 

ceive, that the Coh)nel is directed, to perform certain strictions 

services, whicli require expense, but the military agent, pe,^diture 

is forbid to furnish this expense, should it exceed imposed 
_ A • J. 1- n on officers 

FIFTY DOLLARS ,• — exccpt m extraordinary cases; ofofiji^i^ 

which the commanding officer, in charge of the national military 
interests, is not to be the judge, hut the military ageiit, the dis- 
a man without rank, commission, or a single ray of mili- propor- 
tary information, or experience, is to decide for him. d^are of 
Again, you will perceive, that Major M'Crea, the immc- confidence 
diate subordinate of Colonel Gushing, and without thctoamili- 
hundredth part of his intelligence, is authorised to em- ^^^y^S^"^' 
ploy engineers, to construct works and to make limitless 
expenses ; and I find one battery at the Bayou St. John 
completed, for about forty thousand dollars, which is of 
no more use, to the defence of this country, than if it 
were on Capitol hill ; and another battery is in hand at 
the English Turn, which will he found as useless: at the 
same time, you will perceive, from the report of the en- 
gineer, that the work3 at Placquemine are in a bad way, 
without materials, and in a state of abandonment by the 
w orkmen, for the w ant of their pay. The chief engineer, 
a Frenchman of St. Domingo, residing in this city, re- 
ceives five d(illars per day, and his second, a Frenchman 
of colour, is at eighty dollars per month. I would ask, 
wherefore this expanse, with a coips of engineers? Is it 
economy, or is it policy, to employ foreigners to con- 
struct our most important defences? But, it was deemed 
expedient, that the officers of the corps of engineers, 
should be deprived of command, and held subject to the 
orders of the President, exclusively, which was a dere- 
liction of rule, and a violation of right. 

" When at Charleston, I ventured to direct Major 
M'Comb, to order Captain Gratiot of the engineers, to 
this place; but I have heard nothing more of it; en pasr 
sant, it may not be improper to observe, that Licutenant- 
r')lonel Mansfield holds a lucrative office, somewhere on 
VOL. II. Y y 



354 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, the Ohio, and has not done a day's duty in five years : 
one of my surgeons, has recently received orders from 
the war department, to make his returns to that depart- 
ment. 

« The paymaster of this army, a subaltern, receives 
impracticable orders from the cliief of his department ; 
and Mr. Abrahams, the military agent in the place of 
quarter-master general, tells me, he receives similar ov- 
dft*s from Mr. Simmons, the accountant of the wai' de- 
partment. 

" You will observe. Sir, we have an army without 
a general staff j and an hospital without surgeon, pur- 
veyor, matron, or nurse ; indeed this department ijas a 
strong claim to your humanity. 

<« You Iiave, under cover, returns of the medicijie, 
stores, instruments and furniture, on hand, for three or 
four thousand men, whicii I present without remark; be- 
cause I indulge hopes, this may find its way to the hands 
of a gentleman, more competent to form a judgment on 
the occasion, than myself. 

« The troops are without bunks or births to repose on, 
or musquitoe nets, to protect them against that pestife- 
rous insect, with which this country abounds : these ac- 
commodations are absolutely necessary, not only to the 
comfort, but the health, and even the lives, of the men ; 
but they have not been provided, and, under the exist- 
ing « FIFTY DOLLAH oKDER,' Cannot be procured, be- 
cause tbey would cost at least ten thousand dollars ; the 
men must therefore suifer, until some different arrange- 
ment is directed. 

*« If we should be called to action with our raw troops. 
I should depend more upon the celerity of our move- 
ments, tlian any other circumstance ; and yet, we have 
not a single haversack in store, or in use ; how tlien, 
are we to carry our provisions, or how enterprise upon 
Deficiency ^n enemy, in a country highly favourable to the ruse de 

oi trans- . <j .- 

port, and guerre? But, Sir, if we are called upon to take the fiold, 

difficulty j,jjjj n jjg (Jqjjp without transport? for we have neither 

ot obtain- * 

ing it. ox, nor ass, nor horse, nor cart, nor wagon ; and you 



GENERAL ^VILKINSON. S55 

know, that in the best provided section of the union, chap. 
weeks and months would be necessary, to provide and ^" 
prepare for tlie movements of an army ; whereas, if we 
are forced to act, it will be on a day's notice, because the 
enemy will approach us by sea, and, in this country, it 
would require at least forty days, to provide land trans- 
port for an army of three thousand men, with the neces- 
sary baggage, stores, provisions, and ammunition, even 
for one month. 

" Cast your eye over the ordnance return, and you 
will find, that in this whole department, we have only six 
pieces of battering cannon mounted ; and of these, the 
carriages of several are reported damaged. My en- 
gagements have not given me time, to ascertain the causes 
of these defects, but it shall soon be done, and the best 
remedy in my power applied ; as, however, every species 
of work here progresses slowly, and comes high, I would 
recommend, that a few twenty-four pounders, should be 
mounted near you, and sent hither. 

*« The battery at the Bayou St. John, is completed, 
but the place is without barracks, or rear defences : I 
shall forbid their erection, until I hear from you, because 
the work is really useless ; and to construct them, would 
be to throw away fifteen or twenty thousand dollars 
more. 

« Tlie works at Placquemine, should be pressed, and 
arranged for four companies, which would be a compe- 
tent force to defend the post, and command the river. 

" Major M«Rea reports, that the whole of the mate- 
rials for the battery at the English Turn, are on the spot, 
and that the work is nearly finished j it may, therefore, 
be well enough to (Complete it, as the additional expense 
will, I am informed, be inconsiderable j for, although of 
no utility, the establishment may flatter the self love, and 
increase tlie confidence of this people. 

« In my next, I shall transmit certain documents, 
to meet Mr. Simmons's prejudiced and unprincipled 
statements. 



256 MEMOIRS BY 

CH\P. «« I deem it material to advise, that you should pro- 
cure an act to be passed, pending the present session of 
r.eneriil Congress, to authorise the President, on his discretion, 
"Wilkinson to make sale of the public buildings, occupied by tbe mi- 

rccorn- • 

mends an I'tary in this city ; and to erect the necessary barracks 
applica- and buildings, for the troops to be stationed near it, on 
legisla- some suitable site ; for it is impossible ti) preserve the 
ture, to health, morals, subordination, and discipline of an armv, 

sanction a » . 

measure m SO liceutious a place: the proposition abounds with 
f^^P^^^^S economy, as the buildings and grounds, now occupied by 
by which the troops, would bring at least five hundred thousand 
woufd be *^^'^''^''^' ^"'' t'^® establishment proposed, should not, under 
side j,neat proper conduct, cost more than half that sum. 
advan-'^^ " ' throw myself on your consideration, to excuse the 
tages, be tenor of this letter. Complaints, though always disa- 
o/aiarfe greeable, are sometimes necessary; and, in the present 
sum to the instance, I hope they may be justified by the obligations 
of public duty, as well as by the excitement of profes- 
sional sensibility. 

"You have a long catalogue of difficulties to encoun- 
ter, and errors to correct; among them the unexampled 
circumstance, of several officers continued in service, 
who are found iinwortliy of promotion, or uttei'ly incapa- 
ble of doing any kind of field duty; such are and 

and ; to make provision for the two latter, 

I framed a law instituting an Invalid Corps, which Ge- 
neral Nelson took under his patronage; but I know not 
what has become of it. 

" With perfect respect, 
" I am, &c. 
(Signed) « JAMES WILKINSON. 

«•' The Hon. trUliam Eiistis, 

« Secretary of War" 

Thus it appears, that on the 12th of May, I submitted 
to the secretary of war, in detail, that very disposition of 
the troops, which I carried into effect the beginning of 
June; and for which, I now stand accused to this honour- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 357 

able court, for a breach of orders. It is true, no proofs chap. 
have been adduced, to sustain this charge; and being 
supported by dark suspicions, and pretended hearsays 
only, it would be unworthy further attention, but for the 
respect, which I owe to the high authority, under whose 
name, in course of official form, it has been ushered into 
tliis court, and the desire which 1 feel, to meet even the 
suspicions, and hearsays of my accusers. 

My next letter, of the 18th of May, 1809, to the same 
gentleman, although on a subject, distinct from my pro- 
fessional obligations, is demonstrative of my attention, to 
whatever might interest my country; and my precautioo 
has been justified by subsequent events, 

I shall, therefore, give it, also, at large in this 
place. 

« JVew Orleans, May l%th, 1809. 
" Sir, 

" We have recent, and strong symptoms, of a commo- General 
tion at Pensacola, the issue of which cannot be anticipat- applies for 
ed; but the appearance, gives birth to the following pro- orders to 
positions, which may, I hope, be promptly resolved for q," '^^g q^.' 
my government. currence 

a 1st. — If the Governor of West Florida, should call i^ar'^even^t^, 
on me, formally, for succour or protection, what am I to which he 

J 5 points out 

QO- as likely 

<«2dly. — If the Governor and government should be*°5iappen 
demolished, either by an usurpation of Spanish subjects, 
or by the enterprise of the American settlers, what course 
am I to pursue ? 

" Believing one of these events probable, and being de- 
sirous to take any advantage for the public, which may 
offer, will be my excuse for this trespass." 

In a letter of the 19th, which covered the preceding, I 
informed the secretary, that 

« I had not found ground for the encampment, but 
hoped to succeed, in the course of the next week," 



S58 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. And in a letter of the 22d, the court will perceive, I 
"^" call the attention of the secretary, to the same subject, in 
the following language ; 

'< I have spent two days in examining the coast, 
lip the river, for ground to encamp the troops on, but 
without the desired effect : to-morrow, I descend to ex- 
amine the vicinity of the English Turn ; and on Friday, 
I propose to embark, to reconnoitre the Lakes, and the 
banks of the Amit: in making the selection, health will 
be a primary consideration, then, the relation of the posi- 
tioi}, to the most vulnerable points of the coast, and, after- 
wards, economy; but to prevent the return of the troops, 
to this licentious place, for the winter, I will now^ offer 
you the idea, of erecting permanent quarters, or a can- 
tonment for them, on the ground which may be selected,* 
and this implies the purchase of soil, and materials, and 
the employ of workmen.'* 

As my next letter, that of the 29th of May, has by 
some forced construction, beyond the comprehension of 
my mind, been tortured into testimony against me, it 
seems proper, that it should be recorded in my defence, 
and, therefore, 1 shall in this place introduce^ the follow- 
ing extract from it. 

i'Mw Orleans, May 29th, 1809. 
*•' Sir, 

*< After much enquiry, I have determined on a spot, for 
the encampment of the troops ; it was a difficult matter, 
from tlie localities of the country, to adjust ; and, being 
an object of primary importance, in relation to economy, 
discipline, and health, it has truly occupied all my cares, 
and attentions, and will, I liopc, be my excuse for inat- 
tention to minor objects. 

*< Your predecessor had spoken witli me, respecting 
the site of Galvez Town, on the Amit river, about sixty 
miles north of this place, and I proposed reconnoitering 
it; but the idea was no sooner promulgated, than many 



GENERAX. WILKINSON. 359 

01 the most ancient inhabitants, called to inform me, that chap. 
it was the most sickly spot, in the territory, and that the ^^^^^^^^^ 
Spaniards had actually abandoned it, on that account. 

" The advantages of this jiosition would have been ; Galvez 
public ground, public wood, and the removal of our advlnta-^ 
recruits from allurements and sinister seductions : its ges and 
disadvantages; the proximity of the Spanish occupan- ^^^g, ^^'^ 
cies, and its distance, from the most assailable points of peiina- 

nent mili- 
tbe coast. tary posi- 

*• Its character, and the preiudices whicli prevail t|'^n,con- 

, sidered. 

against it, (I believe, on just grounds,) are decisive on 

my determination ; and with the general voice of Ameri- 
can, and Creole, in favour of it, I have selected a piece 
of ground, on the left bank of tlie Mississippi, below tins 
city about four leagues, which I find perfectly dry at this 
moment, although the surface of the river, restrained by 
its dykes, is, in general, three feet above the level of the 
country: you will put your finger on the spot, at the head The posi- 
of the English Turn, iust where the road, to the settle- ^'''" °^ 
ments on "Terre aux Bceufs," leaves the river. AtxBouFs 

« The disadvantages of this position are : private ft^g^jj-g^ad" 
ground, private wood, and its vicinity to this city ; the vantages 
atti-actions of which, divert our green otficers, from due vantages 
attention to their profession, and will expose them, as pointed 
well as the men, to the arts, intrigues, dissipation and '^"^ 
corruption, of my personal enemies, and the enemies of 
the administration, and the government; who are as 
busy, nnder the management of Clark and his cabal, as 
fiends of hell, to corrupt and seduce men and officers 
from their duty, and to excite discontent, and sedition ; 
but its advantages are, promised health, the best water 
of the country, the accommodation and comfort of a mar- 
ket, the immediate pTotcdion of the city, and the prompt 
defence of the river, and the lakes, against an invading 
force. 

"Under sucli considerations, and the rapid advance of 
the season, I could pause no loiiger, but shall proceed to 
take the position, and make the necessary establishments, 
for the reception and safe keeping of tlie stores, and pro- 



360 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, visions"; necessary to the supply, and support of the 
^' troops, and for the comfortable lodgment of the well and 
the sick. 

" I promised you, we should be in the field, by the 
10th proximo, and I think, I shall be able to fulfil the 
engaj^ement. 

" You are sensible, that it will be impossible to intro- 
duce, any thing like an uniform system of subordination 
and discipline, into a body of men, taken immediately 
from the mass of society, without exciting the disgusts, 
and discontents, and resentments of the idle, the dissipat- 
ed, the vain glorious, the obstinate, impatient, presump- 
tuous, and profligate. 

« My progress will be gradual: from a perfect insensi- 
bility of principle, or practice, to a liigh ttuie of police, 
subordination and discipline ; the transition will be labo- 
rious and painful, and cannot be effected with unani- 
General moiis accord; the clamours of the unworthy, will in- 
^tici-"^°" crease with the worth of the corps, and I anticipate, that 
pates the you may be harassed through the medium of worthy 
f.^llfon' men; who do not know that military discipline, and re- 
thatmust publican liberty, are as opposite as safety, and danger j 
from the ^^ confidence, and security ; as indolence, and industry ; 

enforce- ^s volition, and restraint ; as order, and anarchy ; or 

ment of , ,. ,. , . » • . i j-x- 

discipline subordination and mutiny. Against such seditious move- 

lucessary n^cnts, 1 miist look to you. Sir. for that sound support, 
fare of which my conduct may merit, which the radical princi- 
thc army. pj^j. ^^^ ^|.p profession may justify, and the military ser- 
vice may reejuire; and, should a question ever arise, I 
trust it may be settled in a professional way, on the spot 
where it originates; and not on the floor of a popular as- 
sembly, where, neither age, nor rank, nor merits, nor 
services, can save a man, from the envenomed fangs of 
calumny, and detraction. 

i« The inclosed morning report, will exhibit to you, the 
state of the troops, immediately, at this place ; the re- 
turns from Fort Adams, the Mobile, and Placquemine, 
may be expected, in about ton days, and then I shall 
transmit an exact general return. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 36t 

« From Natchitoclies, where — — has €HAP/ 

been, and is now in command, I have no returns ; this 
gentleman's strong sympathies, with Clark and his asso- ^j^^ ^^^ 
ciates, have produced a course of conduct, very unvvor- worthy 
thy his profession, and more particularly of a revolution- coionel 

ary officer: when 1 reached this place, to oppose Colonel > 

n 11- • * ■ Ao^-. 1 / I alludedtcf. 

JBurr and his associates, m 1807, I found 

closely connected with the celebrated and 

: and hence, perhaps, his antipathy to me. 



" Our sick do not vary essentially, nor does our mor- 
tality increase, though our sick report is frightful. 
*« With perfect respect, 
" I am. Sir, 

" Your obed't. serv*t. 
(Signed) *« JAMES WILKINSON. 

" The Hon. TViUiani Eustis, 

<< Secretary of War J* 

On the 5th of June, I, again, addressed the honouiable 
secretary, and the following quotation from my letter, 
will apply, particularly, to the subject of immediate con- 
sideration ; yet, I must solicit the court to give their at- 
tention, to the whole letter, as it furnishes satisfactory 
evidence, of tiie difficulties I had to combat, and of my 
impressions at the time. 

" I had the pleasure to receive your letter,* of the Secretary 
27th April, by the last mail, for which you are entitled "ettirof 
to my acknowledgments, and those of all who wear the 27th April 
sword of our country; because it indicates the reuova- ledged. 
tion of discipline, responsibility, and sound economy. 

" The day before yesterday, I took possession of the 
ground of encampment, with nine companies, and was 
happy in observing, that the position met the approba- 
tion of men and officers. 

" The moment the ground is cleared off, I shall era- 
bark with the residue of tiie new corps, say in four or 

* See Appendix, No. CVI. 
voi. H. Z z 



36S MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, five days, and if precept, or example, or personal exposi- 
^* tion, or persevering industry, and the extent of my au- 
thority can avail, I trust, our health will he preserved, 
and that we shall progress in the knowledge of our va- 
rious duties." 

Let these communications to the war department, and 
the general orders,* which I issued during the same pe- 
riod, be carefully examined, and the following convic- 
tion, will be carried home to the breast of incredulity it- 
self; viz. That I did not por a moment, lose sight 

OF MY ORDERS, OF THE 2D DECEMBER, 1808, WHICH 

WERE, '« TO HAVE SUCH A DISPOSITION OF THE TROOPS, 

General IN THAT DEPARTMENT, FORMED, AS WILL MOST EFFEC- 

Wilkinson tUALIY ENABLE YOU, TO DEFEND NeW ORLEANS AND 
explains „ 

his mo- ITS DEPENDENCIES, AGAINST AN INVADING FORCE j" — 

tives, (or THAT, UNTIL I TOOK POSSESSION OF THE GROUND AT 

removing 

the troops TeRRE AUX BffiUFS, THE REMOVAL OF THE TROOPS FROSl 

from New -^j^yr ORLEANS, FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THEIR 

Orleans, 

andjusti- HEALTH AND MORALS, AND FOR THEIR INSTRUCTION 

fies the oc- ^j^ ^j^j^ DUTIES OF THEIR PROFESSION, OCCUPIED MY 
of Terre ATTENTION INCESSANTLY ; — THAT I OMITTED NOTHING 
auxBcEUls. ^yjrpjjjjjf r^jjE COMPASS OF MY AUTHORITY, TO PROMOTE 
THE HEALTH, COMFORT, ACCOMMODATION, AND HONOUR, 
OF THOSE I COMMANDED; AND THAT IN SELECTING 
THE POSITION, AT TeRRE AUX BffiUFS, I WAS GOVERN- 
ED BY ALL THESE CONSIDERATIONS COMBINED. 

With the knowledge I possessed, of tlie theatre on 
wliich I was placed, (the result of more than twenty 
years research) I should have been highly culpable if I 
had not, in choosing my ground, taken that which was 
best calculated to enforce the instructions, I had received 
from the national executive; and which, in point of situa- 
tion, promised as nnich healtli as any other spot, within 
protecting distance,, of the object to be defended. 

On those subjects, it is fortunate for my military re- 
putation, and my personal character, that a volume of 

* See Appendix, No. CVII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 363 

testimony, the most honourable, should have been offered CHAP, 
to this court, to justify my choice, and attest the precise ^' 
adaptation of the position, to the great objects of the se- 
lection. 

The evidence produced to this point, is of no ordi- 
nary CHARACTER, and although irrelevant to the charges 
against me, I am happy the course, given to the prose- 
cution, has been such, as to justify the introduction of 
it; for while no consideration, has been attached to the 
military merits of the position, while no respect has been 
paid, to my obligations to the government, it has heen 
rung through the nation ; that I had dragged the troops, 
entrusted to my command, to a place of pestilence and 
famine, and had commuted their lives, for the advance- 
ment of my private fortune ! And to render the poison 
more deadly, the laws of nature are dissolved, and I am 
made to burst the bonds of self preservation, in the pur- 
suit of the drosSf which I have always too much despised ! 
yea ! it has been boldly asserted, by one class of my ene- It has 
mies, and industriously circulated by another, that I had |'^^"-^'se. 
sacrificed the live? of my associates in arms, and exposed ed, that 
my own to hazard ; for the improvement of a plantation, Wilkinson 
belonging to the honourable, and virtuous Lavau Tru- jeopar- 
deau, my respected father-in-law, who did not own a foot u'veg of 
of land, within three leagues of the spot! and, as if no- the troops 
thing could be too gross for credulity, wherein my de- mote*fa. 
struction was concerned, this monstrous tale was circu- milyinte- 
lated by my enemies, with as much confidence, as if it ^^^ ^' 
had been a solemn truth. 

The court will pardon me, for anticipating the regular 
order of my defence, by the introduction of this foul ca- 
lumny, whicli lias been but too successfully propagated: 
the infamous falsehood, has filled my mind with indigna- 
tion and horror; for surely, I am among the last of the 
human race, wlio may be rigiitfully charged with sordid 
speculations. 

To get rid of this detestable slander, and to put its 

cruel and unrighteous authors and propagators, to shame, 

if they have not lost the sense) I beg leave, gentlemen. 



364i MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, to refer you to the testimony of the witnesses* for the 

^- pi'osecntion, Lieutenant-colonels Milton and Backus, and 

^TT'''^^^ Captain Gibson of the lidit artillery; and, on the other 

tionof the hand, to the ifepositions of Colonel Beall, and Captains 

foregoing jj^jg ^^^ Wallace ; and, more particularly, to those of 

nies. Messieurs Declouet and De Lassize, the proprietors of 

the land occupied by the troops, whose characters are 

the best guarantee for the truth of their declarations : 

the deportment of Mr. De Lassize, himself a soldier of 

twenty-six years service, on the Mississippi, and residing 

near the camp, whilst pitched at Terre aux Boeufs, was 

such as to endear him, to every officer who made his 

acquaintance. Hear what this respectable planter, on 

his oath, declares. 

Deposition of Mr. John de Lassize, March 10th, 1810. 

Deposi. <( The undersigned Jean de Lassize, a native and in- 

john de habitant of Louisiana, being forty-three years of age, on 

Lassize. his oath declareth, that he is, and has been for four 

years, the proprietor of the ground at Terre aux Boeufs, 

which was occupied by the troops, under the command 

of General Wilkinson, the past season. 

« That no proposition was ever made to him, by or 
for General Wilkinson, directly or indirectly, respecting 
the purchase of said place, or any part of it j that no le- 
vees,! or any part of one, was erected by the troops, en- 
camped on said ground, nor any other works made on it, 
but srich as appeared necessary to the comfort of said 
troops; that said ground adjoined the cane field of this 
deponent, and that no clearing, nor otlier improvement, 
was made on said ground, to prepare it for cultivation. 
« That the trenches and ditches, cut to keep the camp 
dry, were rather injurious than benefic ial to the tillage 
of the ground ; a large proportion of which, was covered 
by clover long before the troop?, came to it ; tiiat the ac- 
commodations made, and the materials brought to the 

* See Appendix, No. CVIII. 

t Dykes to prevent the inundation of the river. 



eENERAL WILKINSON. 365 

ground, for the use of the troops, were sold at public ven- chap. 
due, for the account of the United States; and that for _^j_ 
the pasturage furnished the public horses, for the timber 
and fuel used, and damages sustained, during the occu- 
pancy of three months, the deponent received the sum of 
640 dollars 34 cents only. 

" The undersigned further declares, that he has re« 
sided at the same place, and adjacent to the said camp, 
with a population of more than sixty souls, during the 
space of four years, and that from his observation and 
experience, he considers it as healthy a spot as any in 
the vicinity of New Orleans. 

(Signed) « JEAN DE LASSIZE. 

** A true copy from the original. 
*< Sworn before me, 
(Signed) « J. DUCHANGU, 

«< Justice of the Peace. 
<* This 10th of March, 1810.'' 



Extract from the deposition of Jean de LassiaCf taken ±6th 
of August, 1811, and read in evidence, 

Answer to the 7th Q^iiestion. 

« The site of the camp at Terre aux Boeufs, was, at 
the time it was occupied by the troops, as it is at this day ; 
the ground being elevated, and covered with clover grass, 
intermixed with tufts of high weeds, and shaded by large 
live oakSf under which is a perfect shelter from the rays of 
the sinif and where one breathes a refreshing air, even, du- 
nng the hot and suffocating days of summer, 

<• The labours which the troops performed, in the 
camp, were the following: a ditch of about thirteen 
French acres of length,* three feet and an half wide, and 

• This means one side of a square French acre. 



366 MEMOIRS BY 

CHA.P. one loot and an half deep; this ditch was the reservoir, of 
^* some smaller ones, which traversed the camp, to the 
grand ditch, which hounded the camp, and the bank of 
which served as posts for the rear chain of sentinels ; on 
the left of the camp, there was some underwood, which 
was cleared off by order of the General, and also weeds, 
which were pulled up or burnt. 

" These were all the labours and improvements, per- 
formed by the troops. 

<« The wood which borders on the camp, is a little more 
cleared than it was, because the soldiers took that for 
firewood." 

Answer to the 8th (luestion, pit to Mr. De Lassiae. 

«< Tlie rise of the waters of the Mississippi, were 
greater than they had been for a number of years; so 
much so, that the gaps (or breaches) in the dyke, above 
and below Terre aux Boeufs, were made so large, they 
could not be stopt up, and they were, of consequence, 
abandoned ; notwithstanding which, the place of encamp- 
ment, in 1809, was perfectly dry that season." 

Character Let US enquire, gentlemen, who are the witnesses, to 
sons.liJstI- justify my choice of position at Terre aux Boeufs; are 
fying the they militiirij striplings, officers oj a daifs service, pro- 
Terre 'a.ux fouiidlij Ignorant of whatever related to the profession of 
Baufs. arms, ami still more ignorant of the theatre, on uViich they 
had been recently called to act? Panders of a dark fac- 
tion, AND SPIES UPON THEIR ASSOCIATES ? FOR SUCH 

HAVE BEEN USED* TO CRIMINATE ME: — No, gentlemen, 
I turn, with abhorrence, from such monuments of mili- 
tary DISHONOUR, and will proudly call your attention, 
to the attestations of a band of veterans, grown gi'C} in 
arms, who have hung up their swords, and become peace- 

* Colonels Parker, Darrlngton, and Backus, are conspicuous; they 
sufTered themselves to be employed, by a committee of Congress, to 
bear testimony against the lionour of an absent brother officer, when 
a thousand miles distant. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 367 

fill planters on the banks of the Mississippi; who are CHAP. 
alike distinguished for their independence, fortune, Intel- ^• 
ligence, and honour; men, whose wealth outweighs mil- 
lions, and, for whom, the allurements of corruption can 
have no charms. 

It will not be invidious, to select from this respectable 
grouj), the polished gentleman, the virtuous citizen, and 
enterprising agriculturist, Bore;* to whom, not only his 
own immediate country, but the American nation, are 
indebted for the culture of the sugar cane; nor shall I 
be condemned, for distinguishing the brave, honourable, 
amiable, accomplished Colonel Le Blanr,| who, to the 
<i'cdit of the climate of New Orleans, we behold march- 
ing with the firm pace, and agility of a subaltern, under 
the load of more than sixty years of military service. 

Tlie testimony of the reverend Montegut,:|: and the re- 
spectable Dow,§ cannot be too highly appreciated ; alike 
distinguished for professional skill, and the social vir- 
tues, they are beloved by all, and no breath lias ever sul- 
lied their characters. Practitioners of medicine and sur- 
gery ill New Orleans, and its neighbourhood ; Doctor 
Montegut*s knowledge of the country and its climate, 
has been matured by forty-seven years of practical ex- 
perience, and that of Doctor Dow by thirty-three years. 

Shall I name a Sauve,|| aDaunoy,^ aForticr,** a Ma- 
rigny,ff a Villere,:j:i: a Fouchee,§§ La Ronde,|||| a Ville- 
neuve,^5I ^ Jnmonville,*** a Dessalles,f f f and other no- 
tables of the country, generous, brave, alive to honour, 
and above the seductions of intrigue, or the excitements 
of prejudice ? To these I add the names of a Claiborne, a 
Morgan, a Saul, and a Flood ; friends to their country, 
and meritorious citizens of the Atlantic states ; who up- 
held me in that awful hour, when patriotism stood appal^ 
led, and treason stalked the streets of New Orleans. 



• See Appendix, No. CIX. 


t Ibid. 


i Ibid. 


§ Ibid. II Ibid. 


H Ibid. 


** Ibid. 


ft Ibid. a Ibid. 


§§ Ibid. 


Ijlj Ihid. 


fiy Ibid, »»• Ibid. 


ttj-Ibid. 





368 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. What are the affirmations, of this a.ssemblage of wor- 

^" thies ? that from time immemorial, Terre aux Bceufs and 

The supe- ^^^ vicinity, have been selected by succeeding Governors, 

riority of imdcr successive governments, as the preferable spot, for 

Bffiiifs \"o^ ^'^^ defence of JSTew Orleans^ against maritime invasion ; 

other po- and that its superior salubrity, is confessed, over any 

and its' position on the Mississippi, at the same distance from 

advanta- j^ew Orleans : Doctors Monte eut, and Dow, Messieurs 

CC9 dc- 

tailed. ^6 Blanc, Daunoy, Deciouet, Delassize, Le Rondje, 

Guichard, Jumonville, Marigny, Villere and others, 
from professional experience, personal observation, or 
long residence at the spot, or in its vicinity, pronounce 
it the most elevated, and healthy position, in the vicinity 
of New Orleans; abounding with milk, eggs, vegetables, 
aiid other articles of comfort. 

Having ascertained these facts, by diligent enquiry 
and critical examination, I could not hesitate, to give 
Terre aux Boeufs the preference, which is marked in my 
letter, of the 29th of May, to the secretary of war ; and 
the result, would have justified every expectation I had 
formed, if I had been left to the exercise of my own judg- 
ment; but if the orders I received, the 2d of December, 
1808, had lost their force on my mind, the secretary's 
letter, of the 27th of April, 1809, would have re-establish- 
ed their effect; that letter, being the first I received from 
the present secretary of war, I shall here present it to 
you, gentlemen, to justify my encomiums of it. 

" War Department, Jpril 2,7th, 1809. 
"Dear Sir, 

« On entering into an execution of the duties of this 
department, it was natural for me to look around, fir 
gentlemen of talents, honour, military knowledge, and 
experience, in whom to confide for counsel, and assist- 
ance : that they were to be found, in the higliest grades 
of the army, I well knew. 

«* Their dispersed situation, defeats the expectation J 
had formed, of profiting by their opinions and advice; 
tlic first officer, the only proper organ of communica- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 369 

tloh, on whose opinions and judgment I should^ indcpcn- CHAP. 

dently of former knowledge and habits of acquaintance, ^' 

have placed the greatest reliance, is far away, and I am 

left to proceed in the best way, which the dispersed state 

of the troops, and the imperfect returns, and other means 

of knowing their circumstances, and wants, enable me to 

discover. 

<'To render the army, in its present divided and dw- 
persed situation, with many new, and of course, inexpe- 
rienced officers, a disciplined, efficient force, is no easy 
task, even under the most favouring circumstances; 
hitherto I have awaited with some anxiety, the arrival 
of General Hampton, but, from his letter, I am not to 
expect him until the beginning of Juiie. 

*« The troops, under your own immediate command, 
are, without doubt, under a perfect system of govern- 
ment; concerned, as I am, for their healthy an entire con- 
fidence in ijoiir knowledge, experience and judgment, aided Profes-^ 
by an acquaintance with the country, suppresses any opinion co^rlfi.'^* 
on my part. dence, on 

" Respecting those who are distributed in different of^tlfe se- 
posts, and stations, throughout the other parts of the creiaiy of 
United States, I have formed, in my own mind, some the expe- 
ideas of an arrangement respecting them. lience and 

«« Understanding, from General Hampton's letter, that of General 
he has some communications to make, and uncertain Wiikm- 
whether the change that has taken place, in our foreign 
relations, may induce Congress to make any alteration, 
in the military establishment, rvhich may require a different 
disposition, or arrangement from this department; I have 
determined to labour on, under all the disagreeable forms, 
which are now in use, until the result of their delibera- 
tions shall be known. 

" At their approaching session, a return of the army 
will, undoubtedly, be called for ; that it will be, at best, 
Tery imperfect, is too evident : Major Nicoll has been 
directed, to take the necessary measures, on whicli to 
ground a return, up to the end of the present month, 
and I entertain the hope, that you will have anticipated 
vol. IL 3 A 



370 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, the circumstance, and directed a return, of those under 
^' your immediate command, to be transmitted. 

"Your letter, covering an account of certain items, 
not allowed by the accountant of tlie war department, is 
received; as yet, I am not satisfied how far the secretary 
of war, has autiiority to direct in the allowance of claims, 
not authorised (in the opinion of the accountant) by law, 
or by orders of the department. 

"There is another subject, personally intercstin,^ to 
you, which has been the theme of past animadversion, 
and which, I appi'ehcnd, will be renewed. 

« When the business of the department, which I liave, 
hitherto, found done in a detail extremely irregular, from 
the nature of the service, and fatiguing from its quantity 
and variety, will permit, I shall have the pleasure to 
communicate with you more particularly and more amply. 

« In the meantime, I am, with my best wishes for 
your health and happiness, dear Sir, 

*< Your most obed't. serv*t. 
(Signed) «W. EUSTIS. 

Secretary *<The law, passed at the late session, prescribes sc- 

of war's yp|.g limitations in expenditure ; and I am well informed, 
hint, at a ^ ^ ' 

disposi- there is a disposition to scrutinise every item. 

tion to jj General James Wilkinson J' 

scrutinise 
everjitem, 

expend^ ^^^ ^^^^ perceive, gentlemen, by reference to my com- 
ture. munication, to the secretary, of the 5th June, that I had, 

anterior to the receipt of the preceding Icttei", ordered a 
light detachment to Terre aux Boeufs, and proposed to 
follow with the main body, in four or five days ; and is 
there any tiling in this letter, calculated to arrest my in- 
tention, and turn my march towards Natchez ? On the 
contrary, was not its tendency, to confirm my order, of 
the 2d December, by informing me, that it was still « un- 
certain, whether the change which had taken place in our 
foreign relations," (of which I had no knowledge but 
from the newspapers) "might induce Congress to make 
any alteration, in the military establishment, which might 



GENERAI. WILKINSON. 37I 

require a different disposition or arrangement?^* From this CHAP, 
language of the secretary of war, vvliat was I to infer ? ,^^..^^^^. 
That a state of things had arrived, in our political rcla- General 
tions, to justify my departure from my orders, and war- wiikin- 
rant the transfer of the troops of my command, (even if sons on 
they had been in a situation for the removal) an hundred ^^^f P*^"' 

* , priGtVj 01 

leagues to the rear of the object, for the defence of which, occupying 

the armament had been assembled ? I appeal to the can- Terre aux 

Bccuts. 
dour of this court, and the whole world, for an answer: I 

am persuaded, putting aside the originality of the idea, of 

taking post in rear of a place for its defence, it will be in 

the negative. 

The postscript of this letter merits attention, because 
the secretary, in this opening of his correspondence, ad- 
vises me of a disposition, to scrutinise every item of ex- 
pense ; and, of course, to put me on the alarm, at every 
idea of expenditure. 

With the facts, and tlie information before me, which 

I liave submitted to the court, my line of conduct, was 

too plain to be mistaken ; and I could not, consistently 

with my duty to government, or to those whom I com- 

u?anded, take any other step, but that which I adopted ; 

this step, was directed by my orders, and in pitching my 

camp, at Terre aux Boeufs, I strictly fulfilled my duty, 

and obeyed the dictates of my conscience. 

Havine: made the necessary disposition of the sick, and j^iai" 
.,,... • !• xi body en- 

provided, in the best manner, in my power, tor tlie con- camped 

valescent, tlie main body of tlie troops, were removed JO'h of 

from New Orleans, and encamped at Terre aux Bceufs, 

on the 10th of June. 

It seems to be agreed, on all sides, that both men and 
officers, were pleased with the site of the camp, and it is 
on record, from the daily reports, that the health of the 
troops, improved sensibly for several weeks after the camp 
was pitched. 

At New Orleans, on the 30th of May, our sick list improve- 
amounted to 600, and during that month, we lost 19 men [J^e"},eaith 
by disease, and 34 by desertion ', whilst at Camp Terre of the 
aux Bceufs, our sick list was reduced, on the 30th of 



S72 



MEMOIRS. 



CHAP. June, to 442; although we had, actually, carried down 
with the main body, more than 500 sick ; and during 
tioops t^'glit days of June, in New Orleans, we lost ten men by 
Amountof disease, and nine by desertion ; whereas, at Terre aux 
deaths^ ' I^oB^f'^j i» the last twenty days, of the same month, our 
anddeser- loss was clcvcn by disease, and tlirce by desertion. =**= 
Kevv'or- ^^''^ daily general orders of an army, form the strong- 
leans and est proofs, which can be presented to the human judg- 
BceutV "^ ment, because they state facts, as they occur, are copied 
coiitiust- by every company, and read to the whole army, regu- 
larly, at evening roll call ; ignorance mmj misconceivef 
prejudice may distort^ and peijidij misrepresent, but the 
orderly book cannot deceive; by it, then, let me be judged. 



* " TJ'as/iington, Sept. 1st, 1810. 

A KETURN exhibiting the proportions of sickness among the 
troops, for the last 18 days in May, 1809. while quartered in New 
Orleans, and for the last 18 days in June, when encannped at Terre 
aux Boeiifs, taken from the morning reports. 





A'exv Orleans 


,May. 


Ci 


imp Terre aux . 


Bcetifs, June. 


o 






O 






V 


Total present. 


Total sick. 


to 


Total present. 


Total sick. 


14 


1737 


612 


13 


1656 


562 


1.5 


1754 


594 


14 


1062 


565 


16 


1743 


584 


15 


1666 


547 


17 


1748 


597 


16 


1665 


540 


18 


1749 


603 


17 


1665 


529 


19 


1741 


596 


IS 


1651 


494 


20 


1739 


577 


19 


1592 


502 


iJl 


1796 


565 


30 


1652 


476 


22 


1805 


549 


21 


1651 


472 


23 


1803 . 


531 


22 


1687 


477 


24 


1793 


5.50 


23 


1669 


453 


25 


1795 


544 


24 


1679 


459 


26 


1810 


529 


25 


1680 


465 


27 


1817 


561 


26 


1691 


456 


28 


1920 


583 


27 


1690 


429 


29 


1952 


592 


28 


1689 


458 


30 


1952 


593 


29 


1718 


475 


31 


1953 


600 


30 


1725 


442 



" N. PINKNEY, Capt. £jf late Sr/^. Insp." 

From the foregoing return it appears, that in the course of the 
month of June, at Camp Terre ai<x Ba-ufs, while the total present in- 
creased 69, the total sick decreased 120!! Yet this is the spot which 
has been stigmatised as the cause, and as the scene of •' the great 
morialiti/." 



A RETURN, exhibiting the sickness, mortality, 8cc. of the new levies S^S 

on the Mississippi, from Feb. 1809, to Jan. 1810, inclusive. 



O 
to 




t2! 


2 s. 


^1 












CHAP 
X. 


s? 


d 


o 




w 5! 

C 






2. n> 


d 


S3 

3 




Ui 


n 




-3 O 


" O 


r* 


r^ 


!J- p 


_ 


p 




p 


Y^ 


0- 


=: C 


o 


3^ 


;, 


o <-» 


o" 


-5 








w 


m 3 


S-3 






3 ^ 




w 














05 


tn oi 




u 




o 




Vi 


<t ■ 


o ■ 














3 






3 O 


r o 






P 














^f. 


? 




6 


9 






H 

to 


N. Orleans 


February, 1809 


28 


561 


41 


3 








Diltto 


March 


31 


1154 


252 


5 


9 


14 






C 


As.cending 


April 12th 




420 


107 










A detach- 


3 


liie river 


















ment. 


p 


to Orleans 


, 


















to 


N. Orleans 


April 


30 


1684 


492 


10 


30 


40 






P 


Ditto 


May 


31 


1811 


578 


19 


34 


53 






Ditto 


To 9th June 


9 

129 


1200 


433 


10 

47 


9 
88 


19 
135 


135 


At New Or- 


3 

p 




From 1st Feb. to 
9th June 


p 























leans. 




Camp 


June 4th to 9th 




568 












A detach- 


i^ 


Ten-e aux 


















ment to 


s 


Bceufs 


















prepare the 
ground for a 
camp. 


o 

CO 


Ditto 


June 10 to 30th 


21 


1726 


440 


'll 


V 


14 






O 


Ditto 


July 


31 


1689 


660 


o7 


7 


44 






r*- 


Ditto 


August 


31 


1574 


963 


58 


4 


62 






5' 
o 


Ditto 


To" 14 Sept. 


14 
97 


1414 


957 


21 
127 


4 
18 


25 

145 


145 


\tCamp 






From 10 June") 
to 14 Sept. 3 


3 




















Terre aux 






















Bceufs. 


r? 


N. Orleans 


Sept. 1809 




134 


68 


8 




8 




6lh Reg. Inf. 


P 


Ascending 
the Mis- 


From 15 Sept. 7 
to 31 October r 


47 


935 


638 


240 


26 


266 




To Natchez. 


5" 


sissippi* 




















"^ 


N. Orleans 


October 




136 


70 


4 


1 


5 




6th Reg. Inf. 


o 

o 


Camp near 


November 


30 


946 


599 


198 


8 


206 








Washing- 






















ton 




















p 


N. Orleans 


Ditto 




120 


56 


5 


6 


11 




6th Reg. Inf 


3 


Camp near 


[December 


31 


893 


434 


87 


6 


93 






^ 


Washing. 




















o 


ton 




















>. 


N. Orleans 


Ditto 




117 


33 


7 


3 


10 




6th Reg. Inf. 


ei- 


Camp near 


January, 1810 


31 


856 


345 


41 


10 


51 






p 
3 


Washing- 




















u> 


ton 
















(^Ascend- 
ing Mis- 








139 




590 


60 


650 








550 


sissippi, 






- — 


j camp near 




Total loss < 


;3i 


=( Washing- 




* Taken from the original returns and reports. 


ton, & the 




and from the returns of the Inspector of the army. 


6th Reg. 






N. PINKNEY, 


Vapt 


.iili 


ite B 


rig. 


In 


H>- 


1 


Lat Orleans. 





374) 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
X. 

Proofs of 
General 
Wilkin- 
son's at- 
tention to 
the sick. 



Favoura- 
ble opi- 
nion of 
Colonel 
Smytli, 
founded 
on his con- 
duct at 
New Or- 
leans. 



and I shall stand acquitted, in the eyes of every military 
man. 

My humanity, as well as my honour, has been attack- 
ed j yet every witness, who has been called, has borne tes- 
timoDy to my tenderness, my anxiety and care of the 
sick; and my industry, my exertions, fatigues, and per- 
soniil sacrifices for those in health ; this, every witness, 
called on the part of the prosecution, has been obliged to 
confess: but my humanity, that sweetest, dearest attri- 
bute of the human breast, has been assailed, and what is 
the eflFect? to prove that my exertions, as a chief, were 
unexampled, and that, from the commander, I could de- 
scend to become the physician, and the nurse of the sick 
soldier; yet, whilst extending relief, to my unfortunate 
associates; whilst exposing myself, more than any indi- 
vidual under my command; whilst participating their 
sorrows, and sufferings, and sharing their pains and af- 
flictions; I have been called a murderer; and am charged 
with poisoning, by the issue of unsound and unwholesome 
provisions, tlinse very men whom 1 cherished witli all my 
soul, and by every means I could possibly compass. 

The early effects, of the movement of the troops to 
Terre aux Bceufs, as 1 have before observed, were high- 
ly flattering, from the 13th of June, to the SOth of that 
month; the strength of the corps was increased sixty- 
nine; tiie sick reports decreased, from five hundred andj 
sixty -two, to four hundred and forty-two ; and I cxultet 
in the pleasing prospect of a happy issue to the season^ 
To shew what were my feelings, at tliat period, I muai 
beg leave to refer to my letter, of the 11th of June, trans- 
mitted the secretary of war, by Colonel Alexandei 
Smyth, of the rifle corps, of whom I had formed a most 
favourable opinion, founded on my observation of hiE 
conduct, wliile under my orders in New Orleans; but bj 
the arrival of Colonel Russell, Colonel Smyth's com- 
mand was reduced to a narrow compass; which circum^i 
stance, added to his solicitations, and the exposition ol 
his domestic cares, induced me to give him a furlough. 

Colotiel Smyth, on his voyage down the Mississippi, 
at my request, called at the camp ; and I then wrote the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 375 

letter of the 11th of June, under such a pressure of en- chap. 
gageracnts, that he obligingly copied it. \.^^^->^ 

It will be seen, that, in this letter, I recommended the 
Colonel to the secretary of war, in such terms, as 1 then 
believed he merited ; and I hold the copy in his own ma- 
nuscript, from which I extract the following paragraph. 

<f I reached this position, with the rear of the levies, 
on the 9th inst., and have flattering prospects of a heal- 
thy camp. Colonel Smyth has examined the ground, 
and can describe it to you. 

« Since leaving the city, the health of the detachment 
is sensibly improved." 

I know not what report, Colonel Smyth presented to 
the secretary of war, but I certainly should not have 
made reference to him, if I had not been assured it would 
be favourable ; and as he voluntarily copied the letter of 
which he was the bearer, if I had formed an erroneous con- 
clusion, an honourable man would have apprised me of it, 
at the time, or declined my recommendation; but Colonel 
Smyth did neither, and yet he has expressed himself, on 
that and other professional subjects, in a manner which 
may render an enquiry necessary. 

Wliile our prospects continued thus flattering, between Secretary 

the 14th and 20th of June, I received the secretary's let- ?\r^.^ ^f 

ter, of the 30th of April, on which the charge of disobe- 30th of 

dience of orders has been grounded. This letter is con- ^F""'^^'^" 

^ ceived. 

ceived in the following terms, and I hope it will attract 
the particular attention of the court. 



<f War Department, Jlpril SOth, 1809. 

« Sir, 

*< In my letter of the 27th inst. a concern was express- 
ed for the health of the troops, together with a confidence 
in your experience, knowledge of country, and entire 
competency and disposition, to adopt every measure, re- 
specting that very important object. 



370 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. " On inspecting the general instructions given by this 

^" department, 2(1 December, 1 808, it appears that the troops 

Funlier ^^^^'^ to be assembled at New Orleans: an apprehension 

discre- that the letter of this instruction, may be construed to 

power^ limit any measures, which your own judgment may 

vested in suggest, respecting a change of position, imluces mc to 

Wilkin- remove any such obstacle, if it shall have had an in- 

son, byse- fluence. 

^ai-.^ ^ " By the returns of the 24tli of March, it appears, 

that more than one-fourth part of the troops were sick; 
without a knowledge of this fact, the removal of the army 
from New Orleans, during the summer and autumnal 
months, is suggested by every consideration of prudence 
and experience: if, therefore, such removal sliall not, on 
receipt of this letter, have been already commenced, you 
^vill be pleased to give the necessary orders, to have it 
effected immediately. 

« After leaving the necessary garrison, consisting of 
old troops, at New Orleans, it will be desirable, that all 
the others should be transported, either to the high ground 
in the rear of Fort Adams, or a part of tjiem in the rear 
of Natzhez. Perhaps both these stations should be oc- 
cupied ; a division of the troops, being more favourable 
to their health, tlian quartering the whole together in a 
body: of this you will Judge. 

« The primary objects, will be to preserve the health, 
and lives of the men; next, to have them so quartered, 
as will best admit of a regular system of order, govern- 
ment, and discipline, with as much economy as is practi- 
cable. 

«< I am, &c. 
(Signed) « W. EUSTIS. 

<t General James Wilkinson" 



In this letter, the secretary recognises that of the 
27th of April, written to me only three days before, in 
which he expresses « his entire confidence in my know- 
ledge, experience, judgment, and acquaintance with the 



i 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 377 

country;'* but he does not liint, at the removal of the chap. 
troops to tlie upper country, or suggest tiie idea, of any ^ 
change in our foreign relations, to warrant sucli a step : 
on tlie contrary, iie expressly informs nie, that it was 
« uncertain, whether the change which had taken place" 
in those relations, " would induce Congress to make any 
alteration in the military estahlishment, which may re- 
quire a different disposition or arrangement from this 
dej)artnient." 

The secotid paragraph of the letter of the oOth of Jpnl^ is 
ohvioiislij intended^ to enlarge my discretioivart 
POWERS, and to free me from amj restrictions ^ which might 
be imposed by my orders of the 2d of December. 

The third paragrajjh, acknowledges the return of the 
24th of March, in which it appeared, that more than 
one-fourth part of the troops were sick. 

The fourfli paragraph is couched in the following 
terms : « If such removal sliall not, on receipt of this 
letter, have been already commenced, you will be pleased 
to give the necessary orders, to have it effected imme- 
>diately;" and in the sixth and last paragiaph, the secre- 
tary observes, that " after leaving the necessary garri- 
son, consisting of the old troops, at New Orleans, it will 
be desirable, that all the others should be transported, to 
the high ground in the rear of Fort Adams," kc. &c. 

Having thus remarked upon this letter, of the SOth of 

A])ril, I trust with candour, it is in vain, I search for a 

word or expression, on which to ground the charge, of 

"Disobedience of orders, by the removal of the charge ot- 

troops from New Orleans to Terre aux Boeufs :" on the j|^°^J:"g^, 

contrary, that movement may be justified by the letter lirely uu- 

itscll'. But what are the proofs, wiiich have been ad- ^^h^any 

du< ed, in support of this offensive ciiarge? Not a sylla- matter to 

blc, gentlemen! Nor is it possible to sustain a charge, in t',Viecl, 

itself so entirely groundless. It is true, the attempt has fiom the 
1 . . , 11 I J. • litter of 

been made, and my honour lias been outraged to give ^j^^. ^q^^ 
plausibility to a fiction : I will say, an ill-natured fiction, April, 
founded on an unworthy suspicion. It would seem, that 

TO!/. II. 3 B 



378 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, to supply the defect of facts, presumption, vague pre- 
^' sumption, has been substituted to effect my disgrace. 

Thus my letter, of the 29th of May, lias been convert- 
ed into an answer, to that from the secretary of war, of 
the 30th of April ; but I can discern neither acknowledg- 
ment, nor intimation, nor anah)gy, whereon to found this 
supposition; nor is it supported by reason, or principle, 
or probability. Wherefore should I dishonour myself, 
by tlie suppression of this letter of the secretary ? since, 
if it had, even, awaited my airival at New Orleans, it 
could not have changed mij resolution,, to take post "in the 
vicinifif^ of that city. The preservation of the « health 
and lives of the meUf" being made « the primary object of 
the removaW^ and constituting the only imperative ex- 
pression it contains. 

I feel, gentlemen, and I believe, the correctness of the 
impression will be admitted, that I should have violated 
the letter and the spirit of this order, if I had, in the 
diseased state of the troops, and under the circumstances 
of the season, attempted a movement, which, instead of 
i' preserving the health and lives of the men,''' would have 
proved destructive to both j but my orders of the £d of 
December, 1808, continued in force until revoked, by the 
l)cremptory mandate of the £2d of June. Suppose, under 
such circumstances, I had abandoned the object commit- 
ted to my defence, and an enemy had got possession of 
it, where wOuld have been my justification ? You all 
know, gentlemen, what would have been my merits, what 
my punishment. 
The pii- I do, therefore, contend, that no obligation of duty, 
kcroniic ""*' pi'"iciple of service, could have justified me, in yield- 
secretary ing to the mere *< desire*' of the secretary of war, 
ietter'that t>'^"sniitted to me at a distance of twelve hundred miles, 
which Ge- in thc face of positive orders, and at the expense of the 

kinson " HEALTH AND LIVES OF THE MEN," whicll I waS Com- 
mas bound manded, in the same letter, to make <* a primary ob- 
to keep in „ 

view. J*'i i. 

I beg leave to submit to thc court, the following ex- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 379 

tract of my answer to the secretary's letter of the 30th chap. 
of April . 

« Camp Terre aux BceufSf Jipril 18th, 1809. 
« Sir, 

" Your letters of the 30th April, and 4th ult., did not 
reach New Orleans, until the last mail, the 14th instant ; 
thougli we received, at the same time, the President's 
speech, and Mr. Randolph's invective. 

«« I am liappy that I liave, so far, anticipated your 
wishes, as to have encamped the troops; though I have 
not sought the position you recommended : nor should I 
have done so, while permitted to exercise my discretion, 
for the following reasons, viz. The movement to Fort 
Adams, or to Natchez, must have been made by water^ 
as the Spaniards will not permit, our passage through 
West Florida. 

« Tlie toil, the time, and the exposition, in ascending 
the river, one hundred leagues, with a corps of two thou- 
sand, would, probably, have diseased nine-tenths of the 
men, many of whom were in a convalescent state, and as 
many sick. 

<« The expense of transportation, would have exceeded 
twelve, and might have equalled twenty thousand dol- 
lars. 

*< Tlie position is too remote, for the seasonable pro- 
tection of New Orleans, against external attack, or in- 
ternal commotion ; and, after all, we might have found 
the upper country more sickly, than the banks of the 
Mississippi, which frequently occurs: the movement to 
this place, on the contrary, was done without inconve- 
nience to the well, or injury to the sickj and at no ex- 
pense, because the chalons* which transported them, will 
be employed in erecting the necessary buildings, and for 
flooring the men's tents." 

Compare this extract, with my letter of the 29th of 
May, and no person will be at a loss to decide, which is 

* Covered flat-bottomed boats. 



380 MEMOIRS BY 

CH \P. the answer to the secretary's letter, of the 30th of April ; 
^^,.^^.;,^^ that fr-om mo, of the 29th of May, is evidently the termi- 
Letierot nation of a SJU'ies of ronimunications, which I had made 
j.ne isih j.,j ||,g secretary of war, on the siihioct of encamping the 

comp.iivd ., . , . * ^ 

w th tiiai troops, from the 13th of April ini lusive. 

of 29ih rpij iiiusti'Htt' the intesrritv of my motives, in setting 

May. o . •' «i 

down at Terre aiix BoRufs, I must beg leave to observe, 
tliat Galvez town, only sixty miles from NeAV Orleans, by 
shallop communication, was considered too remote, for 
the protection of that cityj and, under such an impres- 
sion, I coul I never liave thought of throwing the troops, 
^n hundred leagues in the rear of it. I should as soon 
have thought of Albany, as a suitable position for the 
defence of New York; Trenton for that of Philadelphia ; 
or Augusta for that of Savannah. But so intently was 
my mind occupied, by the main object of the armament, 
assembled on the Mississippi, that I explained and apo- 
logised to the secretary, in my letter, of the 12th of May^ 
for not ordering the 2d regiment stationed at the Colum- 
bian Springs, down to New- Orleans; and in that of the 
18th of June, whilst assigning the motives, which would 
prevent my moving up the river, under the circumstances 
of the seasim, and the situation of the troops, (»« so long as 
I should he permitted to exercise my discretion,'*) I an- 
ticipated the calamities which ensued the fatal measure. 

The longer I reflect, on the perversion of the ob\ ions 
sense, of the secretary's letter, of the SOtli of April, the 
more am T astonished, at the folly and impjulence, of the 
construction put on it; for it could not have been expect- 
ed, that any man of common honesty, and Gommon under- 
standing, would for a moment, have given credit to this 
interpretation of it. 

That letter, in its original intention, and posterior ap- 
plication to my conduct, is deserving of a more minute 
analysis; and as it has been employed, to im])licate uiy 
character, I must implore the patience of the court, while 
1 endeavour to do justice to it. 



GENERAL >VILKINSON. 381 

From the facts, which have come to my knowledge, in chap. 
the course of the prosecution, the impression will ever ^ 
remain on my mind, that my ruin and not the public 
good, formed the chief objects of the enquiry, into the 
causes of the mortality, among the troops, on the Missis- 
sippi, in the year 1809: it is foreign to my present pur- 
pose to enquire, who were the authors of that enquiry, 
but the subject may be investigated at some future day, 
and in the meantime, I will draw from it evidence, which 
will go far to sustain my defence. 

I would call the attention of the court, to the following 
letter of the secretary of war, of the 24th of February, 
1810, addressed to the committee of Congress, of which 
Thonms Newton was chairman. 



" War Department, February SlAth, 1810. 

« Sir, 

<' In answering your letter, of tlie 19th inst., requesting 
information on the following heads, viz. 

" 1st. — Whether the detachment, from the army of the 
United States, sent to New Orleans, was encamped at 
Terre aux Boeufs, on the Mississippi, in pursuance of 
ordeis given to the commanding officer of that detach- 
ment ? 

" 2d. — The object of the encampment, of that detach 
ment at Terre aux BoBufs? 

« 3d. — Whether the detachment during the encamp- 
ment, at Terre aux Bceufs, suffered in any respect for 
want of regular, and necessary supplies ? 

"4th. — Whether the detachment was encamped in con-? 
travention to orders : if in contravention to orders, the 
time it so continued at that place ? 

" I have adopted the course, which has appeared to 
me, to be the most becoming the occasion, and best cal- 
culated to convey, to the honourable committee, of which 
you are chairman, the information they have requested; 
I have the honour, accordingly, herewith, to siibmit to 



383 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, their inspection, a transcript of tlic original order, bear- 
^- ins; date, December 2d, 1808, designating* the force, des- 
tined for the defence of New Orleans, and of the subse- 
quent orders from this department, together with such 
extracts from the letters, of the commanding general, as 
relate to the selection, and occupancy of, and the remo- 
val of the troops, from the encampment at Terre aux 
Bceufs. 

"Previous to the issuing of the ordei*s, the 22d of 
June, a consultation was had with the secretary of the 
navy, the result of which, justified an exjKictation, that 
the necessary transports for the ti'oops, might be derived 
from the naval flotilla, on the Orleans station; an order 
for that purpose was accordingly given. 

«' On receiving the order, of the 22d of June, it is be- 
lieved, that the General made every possible effort, to 
procure the trans}K)rts for his army; but the sickness 
which afflicted tlic army, and the whole country, had 
also extended itself to the marine : owing to this circum- 
stance, and the distance of the vessels from New Or- 
leans, unexpected delays occurred : in addition to which, 
it being found necessary, to have the assistance of the 
public boats at Fort Adams, which required repairs, the 
General found himself unable, to embark the army until 
. the month of September, as stated in my letter, of the 
SOth of January last. 

"At such time, as the honoui'able committee maybe 
pleased to appoint, I shall be ready to attend on them, 
and to give such further information as may be required. 
" With respectful consideration, 
« Your obed't. serv't. 

«W. EUSTIS, 

" The Hon. Thomas JVcwton, chairman.** 

Here we find, the committee had called on the seci^- 
tary of war, for specific information, touching the sub- 
ject of the mortality among the troops, on tlie Missis- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 383 

sippi, yet the enquiries are directed, specifically, to my chap. 
conduct in command; to satisfy the fii-st and second en- ^^^-^i^,,^ 
quiries, the secretary transmits my orders, from his pre- 
decessor of the 2d December, 1808, with the orders, sub- 
sequently, issued by himself: now it must strike e\evy 
person, that this transmittal, could have had no other re- 
lation to the, then depending, enquiry, than to satisfy the 
committee, that I had taken post at Tcrre aux Boeufs, in 
confoi'mity to the express injunctix)ns of tiie war depart- 
ment, wherein I had been advised of «< the assembly of the 
troops at JVTsw Orleans, or in its vicinity," and was com- 
manded to take such position, " as would best enable me, to 
defend that city, and its dependencies, against any invading 
forcc.^' Thus, you will perceive, gentlemen, I am justi- 
fied in the occupancy of « Terrc aux Boeufs," by the 
chief of the war department, the secretary himself; and, 
yet, you have all witnessed, how pertinaciously, I have 
been censured for this step. But, do we find any men- 
tion made, or notice taken, of the letter of the 30th of 
April, wluch was presented to the committee at the same 
time? No, gentlemen; we cannot discern a syllable, re- 
specting that document, which has, of late, become so 
highly interesting; here, then, we have the secretai-y of 
war's tacit admission, at least, that I did not " move to 
Tcrre aux Boeufs, in contravention of his orders, contained 
in that letter," for which I now stand accused; if I had 
been guilty of such contravention « of orders," it was 
the solemn duty of the secretaiy of war, when called on 
for information, by the committee of Congress, to have 
reported me; it was not only his duty, but his interest to 
do vSo ; as he rendered himself liable to censure, for with- 
holding, from the committee, so flagrant a breach of duty, 
in a high military commander; but as he did not make 
the report, at that time, it is fairly to be presumed, there, 
was no foundation for it then, and of course, there can be 

me at present. 

Passing over the letter, of the 30th of April, in pro- 
found silence, the secretary calls the attention of the 



384 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, committee, directly, to the order of the 22d of June, iu 
^ which, he informs them, « that, previous to issuing that 
order, a consultation was had, Mith the secretary of the 
navy, and the result justified the expectation, that the 
necessary transport, might be derived from the naval 
flotilla, on the Orleans station, and orders were given 
accordingly," What, gentlemen, is tlie inference ? It is, 
that the secretai'y of war had not, until then, taken hig 
determination, to move the troops up the river; because, 
he knew, transport was necessary to that movement ; 
he knew, also, I had no authority to provide it; and, 
therefore, he made this provision, of the naval flotilla, to 
enable me to carry tlie order into execution; whith ac- 
companied the instructions of the secretary of the navy, 
to the commanding officer of the marine, at New Orleans, 
to furnish it. 

In the sequel of this letter, to the committee of Con- 
gress, the secretary of war, most honourably bears testi- 
mony, to my "EXERTIONS, TO PROCUllE TRANSPORTS 
FOR THE ARMY." 

He indicates my detention, at Terre aux Boeufs, until 
September, by assigning <» the afflictions ob the 

ARMY, THE WHOLE COUNTRY, AND THE NAVY," AS ONE 

cause; the <* deficiency of the transport," as ano- 
ther; and my obligations «to send to Fort Adams, 

FOR THE old PUBLIC BOATS WHICH NEEDED REPAIR," 

as a third; and, after all this, I am accused of having 
"remained at Terre aux Bceufs, until September;" sure- 
ly the committee of Congress, could never have attended 
to the letter, which thus, conclusively, evinces my inno- 
cence. 

It would seem unnecessary, gentlemen, to consume 
your time, or worry your patience longer, on this sub- 
ject; yet, I must be indulged, with a few, a very few mi- 
nutes more. 

The deposition of Governor Claiborne, wliich has 
been read in evidence, to whom I comnmnicated this let- 
ter, at the time of its reception, will explain my conr 



1 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 385 

structimi of it, and, in itself, is sufficient, to satisfy any CHAP. 

X 

reasonable man, of my candour; it will also exhibit the ^^^...^^^^. 

GoveiMior's solicitudes, for the continuance of the troops, 
at Terre aux Boeufs, and his apprehensions of the conse- 
quences, of a movement up the river. In whatever view, 
this letter may be taken, we are struck by its irrelevancy, 
when brought to sustain the crimination; but, the secre- 
tary of war, must be the best interpreter of his own 
meaning; to contradict him, in such case, would be inde- 
corous; and, therefore, I will barely observe, that I have 
his authority to pronounce, the allusion to the removal of 
the troops, to Fort Adams, and Natchez, in his letter of 
the 30th of April, was *^ conditional ;" and, to support the 
fact, I will beg leave to refer you, gentlemen, to the first 
paragrapli of his letter to me, of the 22d of June, in the 
following words, viz. 

« Being unable, to perceive any advantages in the pe» / 
sition, wiiich you have selected for an encampment, as 
stated in your letter of the 29th May, which give it a 
preference over the high grounds, in the rear of I'ort 
Adams or its vicinity, to which my letter, of the SOth 
April, directed, conditionailt, the removal of the 
troops; I am left to presume, either that my letter, has 
not been received, or that some causes unknown to me, 
and reconcileabie with the objects, stated in that letter, 
have governed your decision." — See Second Report Com- 
mittee of Congress, page 28, Thomas Newton chairman. 

The testimony of Mr. Pollock, would, if possible, have 
placed the secretary's justification, of my removal to 
Terre aux Boeufs, in a stronger light. This aged gen- 
tleman, who possesses intrinsic worth, and is tottering on 
tlie verge of the grave, would have deposeil, that, during 
a conversation with the secretary of wai-, on the last of 
July, or the beginning of August, 1809, which respected 
my command on the Mississippi, the secretary informed 
him, tliat my *' orders obliged me, to take the position at 
Terre aux BoeufSf as an invasion was, at that timCf ex- 
vox. IL 3 C 



•386 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
X. 



General 
Wilkin, 
son's ex- 
ercise of 
discretion 
with 
which he 
was in- 
vested, 
repels 
every sus- 
picion of 
disobe- 
dience of, 
and inat- 
tention to, 
the orders 
of the se- 
cretary of 
war. 



pededfrom the British;" but the court thought proper, on 
the motion of the Judge Advocate, to reject this testimo- 
ny as irrelevant, and, therefore, I cannot avail myself of 
it, juridically^ though, nothing, inequity, can prevent the 
promulgation of the material fact. 

Under the circumstances of my situation, when I re- 
ceived the letter, of the 30th of April, with more than 
one-third of the troops sick, and convalescent ; while the 
opinions of the most judicious planters, and the ablest 
physicians, of the country, concurred with my own, that 
a movement up the river, at that season, would prove 
destructive to the corps; could I, gentlemen, have jus- 
tified myself, had 1 taken such a step, on a hare in- 
timation from the secretary of war, that it was «de- 
siraUe?" " Dmra&/e" gentlemen ! is this expression, to 
be construed into a military order? or should I have, 
faithfully, discharged my duty to the country, and the 
troops, if I had conformed to this suggestion; when / 
knew the movement would be destructivey and had before 
me an express injunction, " to make the health and 

IIVES OF the men, a PRIMARY OBJECT?" What WOUld 

have been said of me, if I had under such circumstances, 
surrendered my judgment to a mere desire? and, by my 
own act, exposed the troops to the calamities, which they 
afterwards suffered, under the -pcremiAory order, of the 22d 
of June? Where, and to whom, should I have looked for 
justification? We should, then, have heard nothing, of the 
mandatory tenor of the letter, of the 30th of April ; it ' 
would have been <» buried in a profound," and the hue 
and cry would have been, that I merited death, for the ill- 
judged, and fatal exercise of my discretion. Will any 
candid and honourable man say, after the perusal of 
this letter, of the 30th of April, that I ought to have con- 
formed to the "desire" of the secretary; (supposing the. 
means under my controul) and, on my own responsibility, 
to have hazarded the movement of the troops, under my 
command, (more than one-third of whom were sick and 
convalescent) one hundred leagues, up the Mississippi, 



GENERAL WILKiNSON. 387 

against an impetuous current, exposed to the rays of an chap. 
almost vertical sun, and the chilling night dews of a ^^J^;^ 
swampy country, whose putrid exhalations were absorb- 
ed at every pore? 

Mr. President, I quit this tedious investigation, and 
will call the attention of the court, to a collateral topic of 
the same specification. 

It has heen asked on the pai't of the prosecution, and 
the question has been put with peculiar emphasis, ^^ Did 
General Wilkinson, at any time before the removal from 
New Orleans, consult you, or express himself in your 
hearing, upon the relative expediency, of selecting the 
station of Terre aux Boeufs, in preference to the high 
grounds in rear of Fort Adams, or Natchez ? At what 
time did you first see the letter of the secretary of war, 
to General Wilkinson, dated the 30th April?" 

This is fishing for testimony, the tendency of which 
could not have been duly considered, because it was cal= 
culated to rip up private confidence^ to infect the army 
w ith jealousies, and destroy the little concord, which has 
heen left by my successor: and for what has this unavail- 
ing research been made? — For that, which, when found, 
would have heen of no more value, than Shakspeare's 

*« FOUR GRAINS OF WHEAT IN TWO BUSHELS OF CHAFF." 

When little minds think, they have got a clue of little- 
ness, it is wonderful, with what zeal and dexterity, they 
pursue it! The game once started, and every cur of the 
pack joins in the cry. No sooner was it suggested, that 
the long passage of the letter of the SOth of April, war- 
ranted the suspicion of its reception, anterior to the re- ^^° means 
moval of the troops, to Terre aux Boiufs, than every en- and ho- 
gine was put in motion, by my enemies, to establish the ^^^ g^, 

fact. The post oflices have been ransacked ; witnesses ployed, 

. , . ^ , , , to insure 

drawn from the Mississippi ; and spies, tale bearers and General 

sycophants, have been encouraged to bespatter my repu- wilkin- 

, son s con* 

talion. viction. 

It is well known, gentlemen, that three military officers 
have been summoned, to give colouring to this scandal ; 



ass MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, and wli.'it lias been the effect? — Two of these witnessei 

^ attended here, one oftheirii after a journey of fifteen hun- 

A'Vw/<i7<;o/"^'^*'^^ '""^^■''' "^ ^'^^ public €a:pensc; and have both beex 

evidence, DISCHARGED WITHOUT EXAMINATIOIS". Bllt, in Vvhat 

proof (>f^ liavc all these dark surmises, and desperate efforts even- 
the arrival ttiatcd? — The production of an informal, unattested post- 
turelTf^a' **^^» *•' s^^^^^'» *''^* certain mails which left Washington 
mail, is city, on 29th April and 6tli May, reached New Orleans, 
fJshew,'^ on*25th May; and that of the 13th May, arrived at New 
that a lei- Oileans the 1st June. 

have been This certificate, altliough utterly irrelevant and ilic- 
rec.ivcd. gaij I admitted at its worth, because I am so beset by 
ofits'^'°° suspicions on all sides, that to resist any thing, which 
being- put could be offered against me, however unfair, would be, 

in the ' . «. li 

posioffice. immediately, construed into a consciousness ot guilt. — 
Dreadful situation indeed! and surely entitled to all the 
clemency and consideration, permitted by even handed 
justice. 

But how, when, by what means, and from wliom, was 
the certificate obtained? — From New Orleans. — And does 
it appear, that the letter in question, was punctually 
ti'ansmitted, and punctually delivered? Does it appear, 
whether it was despatched by the Natchez, or Fort Stod- 
dard mails? or was it the original, the duplicate, or tri- 
plicate, which first came to hand? if this letter was forty- 
five days, in reaching my hands, it appears, from the en- 
dorsement of the war office, that my letter of the 12tb of 
May, did not reach those of the secretary, until the 26th 
of June, which exactly balances the irregularity, of the 
arrival of tlie northern mails, at New Orleans. This is 
too notorious to be questioned, and may be fairly as- 
cribed, to the extent and difficulties of a route, of twelve 
or fifteen hundred miles, over mountains and rivers, and 
a considerable space of it through a wilderness : it will 
be found, by reference to my letter, of the 6th of August, 
that the secretary's original letter, of the 22d of June, 
had not then come to hand, although the duplicate had 
been received, more than two weeks before. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 389 

I shall dismiss this enquiry, with the following testi- CHAP, 
mony of Captain Christie, and Doctors Daniel, and ^ 
M*Caulay, which w ill, I hope, rescue my character, from 
the effects of the slanderous whispers, and insinuations, 
w hich have been circulated on this subject. 

Extract from the deposition of Captain Chnstie. 

" Question 11. — Were you in the l)abit of receiving 
any letters from the United State?, while at New Orleans, 
and did you find the posts regular and safe? 

" Answer. — I had several correspondents, and gene- 
rally received Irtters every week. I found that the let- 
ters arrived very irregularly^ often eight or ten days, 
longer on the route, than I thought they should have 
been, and, in one instance, three or four weeks. 

** Since my return to the United States, a friend of 
mine, mentioned to me certain letters, which had been 
written on a particular subject, and which he wished mc 
to return; I had never received those letters, and enqui- 
ries have been made for them, at the post office in this 
city, to no effect." 

Extract from the deposition of Doctor M*Caulay, 

" Question. — Will you he pleased to state such facts, as 
came within your knowledge, relative to the punctuality 
of the mails, in their arrival at New Orleans, from the 
castw-ard ? 

" Answer. — I received many letters from the middle 
states, ^vhen in Ne\v Orleans, in 1809; they were, gene- 
rally, very iri'egular in the spring, and first -of the sum- 
mer. I nnre received a letter, with the Philadelphia post 
mark, in about three weeks; and in three weeks, or mails 
after, I received another letter, of a prior date, and older 
post mark of the same office. 



390 MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
X. 



Extract from the testimony of Doctor Danielf delivered in 
open court, 

" I know the mails from the north to be very irregu- 
lar, in their arrivals at Washington, Mississippi terri- 
lor}. 

*< I have received letters from my correspondents in 
Virginia, wliich had been two months on the way; and 
while at Baton Rouge, last June, I received a letter 
from the same state, dated some time in the preceding 
February. 

« It has repeatedly happened, within my knowledge, 
during bad weather and high waters, tliat several mails 
have been delivered, at the same time, while I was sta- 
tioned in that country." 

"While actively and sedulously engaged, in the various 
duties of my station ; performing, successively, the offices 
of pliysician, nurse, pioneer and commander; our police 
daily improving ; our hospital nearly ready to receive 
the sick, and our labours almost terminated; I received, 
on the evening of the 20th of July, the secretary of war's 
letter of tlie 22d of June, in which he, at the dis- 
tance OF TWELVE hundred MILES, IMPERIOUSLY 

COMMANDS ME, to rcmove all the troops, except a garri- 
son for New Orleans, to Fort Adams and Natclicz. This 
order was directed to me, after the secretary had re- 
ceived my letter, of the 29th of May ; after his knowledge 
of my removal, to Terre aux Boiufs, and the motives 
which directed it; after the information I had given him, 
of the oj)inions of American and Creole, in favour of 
the salubrity of that position, and with a perfect know- 
ledge, OL the ill health of the troops: — but let the peremp- 
tory mandate speak for itself, and exhibit other matter, 
to excite the wonder of military men. 



CHAP. 
X. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 391 

« War Deparfinent, 22(i June, 1809. 
« Sir, 

" Yoiii* several letters of the 20th, 22d, 24th, and 30th 
of April, of the 19th and 29th of May, and those in cy- 
pher, have been received. 

« It is the continued wish, and instruction of the Pre- 
sident, that no interference, of any kind, in the affairs of 
the provinces, and territories of Spain, sliould take place, 
or be encouraged, or permitted, by any person or per- 
sons, whether civil, or military, belonging to, or under 
tlie authority of the United States. 

«< Being unable to perceive, any advantages in the po- 
sition, which you have selected for an encampment, as 
stated in your letter of the 29th of May, wiiich give it 
a preference, over the high grounds in the rear of Fort 
Adams, or its vicinity, to which my letter of the 30th of 
April, directed, coNDiTioNALiy, the removal of the 
troops, I am left to presume, either, that my letter has 
not been received, or that some causes, unknown to me, 
and reconcileable with the objects, stated in that letter, 
have governed your decision. 

*< I AM INFORMED BY THE ACCOUNTANT, that thc 

amount of expenditures at New Orleans, is great; that 
the charges for house rent, forage, and other articles, are 
such, as, if admitted and continued, will soon devour our 
appropriations : — the enclosed memorandum wiil 
GIVE YOU AN idea OF THEM.' I beg of you to intcrposc 
your authority, and put an end to them. 

« Horses for the artillery cannot be maintainedi at such 
an expense; they must either be sent to some part of tlie, 
country, where they can be maintained, at one-fourth 

OF THE PRESENT EXPENSE, OR THEY MAY BE SOLD : 

on those waters, I should suppose they might he dispensed 
ivith. 

" The drivers should be taken from the line; there is 
no lawful authority, for the employment of otiier persons. 
Imagine, for a moment, the whole regiment of light ar- 
tillery, on this scale of expense : consider the prejudices 



393 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, against the army in general, which an inspection of such 
^' charges, by members of the government, is calculated to 
impress on their minds. 

« On receiving this letter, you will be pleased, imme- 
diately, to embark all the troops, leaving a sufficient 
garrison, of old troops at New Orleans, and Fort St. Phi- 
lip, and proceed to the high ground in the rear of Fort 
Adams and Natchez, (the public ground) and form en- 
campments, dividing them equally, or in such propor- 
tions, between the two places, as your own judgment 
shall direct. 

"The inclosed copy of an order, from the navy de- 
partment, will present to you the means of transporta- 
tion j the movement of the troops will be committed, en- 
tirely, to your direction : a single instruction will be 
added, and that suggested by the expenses already in- 
curred; it is, that next to preserving the lives and health,, 
of the officers and men, a rigid regaixl to expenditures 
be o-bserved. 

<■* One hundred common, fifty horsemens* and twelve 
hospital tents, have been ordered to New Orleans, since 
the receipt of your letter, of the 24th of April. 

« It is desirable, that regular returns should be made, 
to the Adjutant and Inspector of tlie army, at the seat of 
government, of all the troops in the district, under your 
immediate command, and that the resignations of officers, 
be transmitted to this department for acceptance. 

<« I am, &c. &c. 
(Signed) « W. EUSTIS. 

*« General James fVilkinson." 

Mcmmt of house rent and forage ^ at JVery Orleans, 1809, 
inclosed in the letter, oj the 22d of June, just quoted. 

"Abstkact, No. 8. 

*' No. 3. — One month's rent of a liouse for qnai'- 
ters for the arlditional troops, to 2d Apiil, 
1809, at S>360 per annum - S 30 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 393 

<.«7. — House rent for the additional troops, one chap. 

month, ending 7th April, at g 1380 per annum 115 ^' 

« 8. — Hire of stablin,^ for the artillery horses, 
one month, ending 8th April, 1809, at S960 
per annum - - 80 

« 9. — House rent for the additional ti'oops, one 
month, ending 31st March, at S432 per an- 
num - - - 36 

« 10. — Do. do. do. at S 144 per annum 12 

«12.— Do. do. do. at S540 45 

«13. — Shoeing 11 horses for General Wilkin- 
son the 11th April, 1809 - - 44 

« 18. — One month's hoese rent, ending 13th 

April, 1809, at S 432 per annum - S6 

« 19. — Twenty-one day's hire of do. to 10th 

April, at S 180 - - 10,8 

« 22. — Shoeing 27 horses belonging to the light 
artillery - - 81 

*' 26. — One month's house rent for the additional 

troops, ending 31st March, 1809, at S1200 100 

"29. — Repairs of a house - 50 

t( 30. — li month's house rent, ending 15th April 

1809, at §240 per annum - SO 

« 31 One month's do. to 20th April, at §540 45 

« 32 One month's house rent for additional 

troops, to 19th April, 1809, at §480 per an- 
num - - 40 

«40. — One month's do. to 9th April, at §480 40 

«41.— 1| month's do. to 30th April, at §1200 150 

« 42.— One month's do. to 30th April, at § 1800 150 
" Ten drivers of the light artillery, em- 
ployed at §14 per month. 

<* Mstract of purchaseSf commencing ist Jlpril, 1 809. 

« No. 2.-2 bell metal kettles, at § 7 §14 

«'4 water buckets, at §5 - 20 

« 5.-16 do. do. at § 5 - SO 

« 1 1 tubs at 3 and 4 doUai's each S7 

VOL. n. 3D 



394 ME3I0ms BY 

CHAP «6.. — 500 weight hay, at S60 per ton, lor the 
^' hospital - - 15 

i( 8. — 84 buvshels oats for the artillery, at 75 

cents per bushel - - 6" 

f( 10. — Forage for 11 horses to General Wil- 
kinson, 27 of the light artillery and 2 of 
Colonel Smyth's — 7995 lbs. hay, at S70 i)cr 
ton - 279,&7 

«223 bushels oats at jgl 223 



502,8: 



«14. — A number of water buckets, say 53 at 
S5 each — corn and hay, iron pots, flannel, 
oats, &c. - - 1,500 



" JVax'T/ Department, June 22(Z, 1S09. 
<* Sir, 

« The secretary of war, having made application for 
the use of the gun-boats, under your command, for t!ie 
purpose of removing tlie troops, under command of Ge- 
neral Wilkinson, up the Mississippi j you may retain as 
many of the boats, as you may think absolutely necessa- 
ry, at your present station, and detach the remainder of 
them on this service^ which I contemplate to be simply 
of the transport kind. The boats so detached are to 
continue on that service, until the removal of the troops, 
shall have been completed, unless contingencies shall 
arise, which may require their being recalled previously; 
of which you are to judge. You are, yourself, to remain 
during this service at your station; and the boats having 
returned, you will be at liberty to avail yourself, of the 
permission, already forwarded you, " to come to the At- 
lantic states." You will inculcate on the officers com- 
manding t])is detachment, the necessity of harmonising, 
with the military, in every matter, necessary to the most 
speedy attainment, of the object to be eflected. 
« Respectfully yours, 
(Signed) "PAUL HAMILTON. > 

" Captain David Fortcr, JV'ew Orleans.** 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 395 

The ingenuity displayed, in framing the charges against chap. 
me, is scarcely to be matched on the records of criminal ^" 
jurisprudence ; and, were I not afraid of incurring the 
imputation of plagiarism, I would say, that where the 
garment does not fit the subject, the subject is made to fit 
the garment j regardless of the torture to which they 
consign the victim of traitorous revenge. 

First, I am charged with a breach of orders in going 
to Terre aux Boeufs; then with a breach of orders for 
staying there j and, they might as justly have added, 
with a breach of orders for going away from that place. 
My neglects are multiplied, and, in the language of a 
celebrated Brigadier, they « go for the whole." Serious- 
ly, these cliarges are so mingled, and confounded, whe- 
ther with design or not, and run into each other, with 
such intimate relation, that it is impossible for me to 
meet them, separately and distinctly; like the tints of the 
rain-how, the first is scarcely terminated, before the se- 
cond begins : in that, I am charged « en massje," and 
must be excused, for meeting my adversaries, on their 
own principles of combat. 

I beg leave to call the attention of the court, to a con- Reflec- 
centration of the objects, of tlie important letter, of the [he"secre- 
22d June ; the secretary, therein, forbids all interference tary of 
in the affairs of the provinces, and territories of Spain ; terVf 22d 
he refers to his letter, of the 30th of April, which, in his June- 
own words, directed " conuitionalit the removal of the 
troops;^' and he imputes my preference of Terre aux 
Bceufs, to Fort Adams, «< to causes unknown to him,'* 
and which he presumes, are reconcileable with the ob- 
jects stated in that letter; he transmits me a memoran- 
dum, furnished by the accountant, Mr. Simmons, of cer- 
tain expenditures, in New Orleans, for house rent, for- 
age and other articles, under the orders of Colonel Par- 
ker, which were indispensable to the service; and re- 
quests me "to interpose my authority to put an end to 
them." He orders me, if the artillery horses, under 
Captain George Peter, cannot be supported " at one- 
fourth of the expense^* to have them sold, « the drivers to 



396 MEMOIRS BY 

Chap, be taken from the line,*' and of course those employed by 
^ his predecessor, to be dismissed ; finally, he commands 
me, *< on the receipt of that Utter, after leaving a sii£icient 
garrison of the old troops, at JVetv Orleans, and Fort St. 
Fhilip, to embark all tlw troops, immediately , and proceed 
with them to the high grounds, in the rear of Fort Mams, 
and JVatchea, and form encampments; the navy depart- 
ment to furnish gun-boats for transportation;" the Tuove- 
ment is committed, entirely, to my directioii, and a single 
instruction, suggested by the expenses already incurred, is 
added, ria. «' that, next to preserving the lives and health 
of the officers and men, a rigid regard to expenditures 
be observed." 

If the qualification of the order, of the 30th of April, 
authorised the exercise of my discretion, for <f the pre- 
servation or the men's health and lives," the 
peremptory tenor of this, took away that discretion, and 
reduced me to the sad alternative, of encountering death, 
or exposing myself (under a positive breach of orders) 
to the ordeal I am now passing ; but the case, however 
painful, produced no dilemma in my mind, for, between 
the forfeiture of his life or his honour, a soldier will not 
balance a moment; and my answer, of the 23d of July, 
1809, which I shall insert at large, in this defence, will 
best exliibit the state of my feelings, on the receipt of 
General t^ig order, which being decisive, and from a superior 
acts on whom I respected, I endeavoured to put the best face 
* 'r h^'9^9ri '^^P^" ^^» consistent witli a due respect to my own sensibi- 
June, lities, and judgment; but if the order bad come in a less 
against imperative tone, if it had not been the result of delibera- 

hisown * 

convic- tion, after the receipt of my communication of the 29th 
the"'advice ^^ May, and a knowledge of the diseased condition of the 
of many troops; if a panic horror had not, generally, seized upon 
ced"of" ^^^^ officers, whom I commanded ; and if my own mind 
diers and had not been shaken by disease, and the persecutions 
cians'.' tvhich assailed me on all sides; I think it probable, I 
should have paused over the mandate, and sought further 
orders, agreeably to the earnest desire, of hundreds who 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 397 

best understood the climate, and anticipated the fatal chap. 
consequences which ensued. ^' 



I 



<« Camp Terre aux Boeufs, July 23(1, 1809. 
*« Sir, 

« Your duplicate, of the 22d ult., reached New Orleans 
en the 19th, and came to my hands on the night of the 
20th July, at 10 o'clock j the original has not yet arrived. 

" The peremptory tenor of your order, for the remo- 
val of the troops, has relieved me from an oppressive 
load of responsibility, and I have not lost a moment, in 
entering on the execution, as you will perceive from the 
inclosed correspondence. 

<* Nothing, on my part, sliall be wanting to effect the 
transition, in the manner the most favourable, and least 
afflicting to the troops^ though, as it is impossible, to 
controul the effects of the climate, I fear it will be vain 
for us, to fly from disease in this region, with our unsea- 
soned recruits; for, it recurs to me, that, when we took 
possession, of the present healthy site of the Columbian 
Springs, near Fort Adams, we had 240 men down, at 
one time, out of about 500. 

« The inclosed report of Doctor Upshaw, who should 
have charge of our hospitals, will give you some idea of 
our situation, and the diseases of the country. 

*' I am undetermined whether to move in a body, or in 
detachments; but will prefer that course, which promises 
the greatest expedition. 

« I fear delay on the part of the gun-boats, because I objec- 
know, from experience, that the gentlemen of the navy, *'°"^ °^^ 
abhor the idea of converting their vessels of war, into cers to 
TRANSPORTS ; and, from the report of Lieutenant Car- '^^^l^isoi 
roll, it would appear, twenty-four gun-boats, the number war into 
on the station, would not carry more than nine hundred ^'■^"SP'^'^^^- 
and sixty men ; little more than half our force ; I have, 
however, a remedy for this difficulty, and, if the gun- 
boats are furnished, sliall leave behind, none but those 
who are too ill to be removed. 



398 MEMOmS BY 

CHAP. « You will discover, from my letter of the 18th ult., 
^" the causes which opposed our ascent of the river j the 
employ of the gun boats will save the expense, and the 
labour of the sailors that of the troops; but the tardiness 
of the movement, and the heat of the sun, in dog days, 
must endanger our health. 

*« The expenditures, at New Orleans, had not, as my 
letters will shew, escaped my attention ; and I removed 
the troops, as early as I could, to retrench them ,* but, I 
think, they have not been of my creating. I neither or- 
dered the rendezvous of the troops at that city, nor of 
the artillery horses; the houses were rented, and tlie 
buekets and forage, &c. purchased before my arrival; the 
eleven horses, mentioned as mine, had been sent to me, 
from Kentucky, for the accommodation of the officers, 
who performed their functions on horseback, and were 
shod and foraged without my privity, or approbation. 

« I am so sensible of the necessity of economy, that I 
tremble at the idea, of putting my name to paper for any 
thing, but my obligations to the service, leave me no al- 
ternative. You shall not, however, have cause of com- 
plaint, from my administration. 

" This establishment {»as cost something; but that cost 
w ill bear a comparison, with antecedent expenses, and 
our camp, with the necessary accommodations, is nearly 
completed; after which, we should not have cost the pub- 
lic, more than six or eight hundred dollars per montli, 
tlie year round ; for every incidental expense, wood, pas- 
turage and quarters included. 

<* Under all circumstances, I must frankly say, that, 
were my discretion permitted, I should stay here, and 
hazard the consequences; but, as there would be hazard, 
I am glad of your order to move; not only because it 
lessens the weight of my responsibility, but because the 
change of place may prove salutary to our men : in all 
events, you may depend, that whatever my judgment, 
experience, personal exposition or attentions can effect, 
shall be done. 



i 



GENERAL WILKlNSOH. 399 

« Captain Gibson, lias finally been appointed military chap, 
agent pro tern, and must draw on you, if necessary ; it, -^■ 
however, will be very sparingly. He is an officer of ta- 
lents and business, and will, no doubt, give satisfaction.'* 

In respect to military command, you are not to be in- 
formed, gentlemen, that the chief orders, and the subordi- 
nate obetjs; that he who commands is responsible to the 
state, for the consequences of his orders, and arrange- 
ments ; and that his subordinates are answerable, to him, 
lor tlieir execution : the merits of the chief, are tested by 
the judgment of his designs, and those of the subordinate 
by skill in the execution. 

Military orders are qualified, discretionary, or abso- 
lute; extending from limitless trust, to detailed restric- 
tions; conditional, like that of the 30th of April; posi- 
tive, like that of the 22d of June; but they must be clear 
and concise, because the construction of every military 
order must be literal : — permit the smallest latitude of in- 
terpretation, and you raze the foundations of the institu- 
tion, and destroy every idea of punctuality, co-operation 
and confidence, without which, neither the honour of the 
corps, nor the interests of the state, can be promoted. 

What higher trust can be confided to a chief, than the 
life of the citizen, and the safety of the state ? He repre- 
sents the sovereignty of the nation ; within the sphere of 
his authority, is responsible for tiie solemn trust ; and to 
satisfy the public expectation, his power must be com- 
mensurate: — take away the means, or shackle his autho- 
rity, and his responsibility ceases ; it is transferred to 
another, and he becomes the derision of his subordi- ^. 

The au- 

nates. thority 

An officer on a distant command, in our sel-vice, is the ^"^ ^-t^',- 
representative of the President ; and, to answer all the ty of a ge- 
ends of his appointment, his authority must be corres- ^^ief " 
pondent ; liis power should be extended to the utmost li- commen- 
mits of the law; and, under this restriction, his controul vv^^io^JT 
sliould be absolute, over every subject of his command ; the one 
but our service presents a system of checks, and ba- ^asU^^'^ 



4)0G 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. lances, the fruitful sources of intrigues, factions, and 
discord. 
The folly ^"^ peremptory, unqualified orders, at a thousand 
of issuing miles distance, evince an excess of temerity, which no 
adistance w^ilitary man will justify 5 because, at such a distance, 
repro- true objects and true interests may be misrepresented or 
mistaken, and the causes which produced tliem, may have 
ceased before they may reach their destination, or a 
change of circumstances may have intervened, to render 
the execution pernicious. Fortunately for the American 
people, the positive orders of the British minister, pro- 
duced the convention of Saratoga, which gave occasion 
to the following reflections, from that amiable man and 
distinguished officer. Sir Guy Carleton, in a letter to 
Lieutenant-general Burgoyne, dated Quebec, Novem- 
ber 12th, 1777. 



Sir Gujr 
Carleton 
to Lieute- 
nant-gene- 
ral Bur- 
goyne, 
after the 
conven- 
tion of Sa- 
ratoga. 



<« This unfortunate event (the convention of Saratoga) 
it is to be hoped, will, in future, prevent ministers from 
pretending to direct operations of war, in a country at 
three thousand miles distance, of which tliey have so little 
knowledgef as not to be able to distinguish betrveen good, 
had, or interested advices ; or to give positive orders in 
matters, which, from their nature, are ever on the 
change; so that, the expediency or propriety of a mea- 
sure, in one moment, may be totally inexpedient or im- 
proper, in the next." 



Corres- 
ponding 
opinions 
of Mar- 
shal Ber- 
thier. 



At a more recent period, if we refer to that nation, 
which has brought the military art to the highest state of 
human perfection, we shall find Marechal Berthier, in 
a letter written at Charmartin, about a league from Ma- 
drid, bearing date December the 10th, 1808, (under the 
eye of his sovereign, tlie first chief of the world,) ad- 
dressed to Marechal Soult, at Saldanha, about sixty 
leagues distant, in which, after giving him the emperor's 
opinions of his operations, and descending to several in- 
teresting details, he adds. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 401 

« But at the distance you are irom us, Mar- chap. 
SHAL Duke, you must regulate your own conduct ^' 

BY circumstances, AND LOOK UPON ALL I WRITE YOU, 
AS MATTER OF GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS."* 

And Lord Casflereagh possessed such a sense of 
military rule, that, in his letter of instructions, to Sir 
John Moore, of the 25th of September, 1808, he submits 
the debarkation, assembly, equipment, and disposition of 
tlie British army, of the Peninsula, to that excellent offi- 
cer^ and, to relieve the General from all solicitude, on a 
point of the greatest importance, in all military opera- 
tions, he adds, 

" With respect to provisions, the principle upon which 
1 liave acted, has been, to send three month's provisions 
in victuallers, with every corps that has moved, exclu- 
sive of the provisions in these transports, which may be 
averaged at about ten week's consumption." 

* See Narrative of Sir John Moore's Campaign in Spain. 



CC? Doctor Macaulay, whose deposition is given in page 387, was 
a native of Virginia, and the military friend of Pike ; whose inborn 
magnanimity, warmed by the sacred flame of liberty, and animated 
by an unquenchable thirst for military glory, led him to abandon his 
country, and, surmounting obstacles almost insuperable, to join the 
standard of the Chilian patriots, where after repeats d displays of ta- 
lents and valour, he acquired the command of a regiment; but, as 
the author has been recently informed, after a sanguinary conflict 
with the royalists, he was made prisoner, and met death with that he» 
roic intrepidity, and contempt of life, which had marked his charac- 
ter. Go ! high minded, gallant Macaulay ; to the tomb, and the con- 
verse of illustrious spirits, I consign thee ; and would that my pen, 
could render justice to thy manly virtues, thy moral rectitude, thy 
glowing patriotism, thy chaste honour, and disinterested attach- 
ments. 

VOL II, 3 E 



402 MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
IX. 



CHAPTER XL 



Disobedience of orders, liable to the penally of death — 
Pernicious impertinence of the accountant Simmons.— 
General Wilkinson'' s arrangements for embarking the 
troops. — General order of 25th Jlugust. — Colonel Backus' s 
services and rcmtineraiion alluded to. — Certifcates of 
Doctors Thruston and Dunham, respecting General Wil- 
kinson'' s hospital at J\<:vw Orleans. — IViat establishment 
compared with the hospital at JVew Fork, under the di- 
rection of the secretary of war. — Testimony of Captains 
Christie and M*Pherson. — Hints touching the qualif ca- 
tions of a prosecutor. — Rule of service, respecting the 
Diarch of troops. — The powers of a commanding ge- 
neral defined. — Transport more than necessary for the 
troops, in the condition they were, at the commencement 
of the march. — Sickness increased on the march. — Boats 
on this account get crorcded. — Dreadful mortality ensues. 
— Predictions of medical men verified. — Want of regula- 
rity in transmitting clothing complained of. — A partial 
distribution of that article at Terrc aux Bo^ifs. — Want of 
system in the clothing of the army. — Jlisconduct of the 
War Department. — Lieidenant-colonel Backns*s testimony 
respecting clothing, contrasted with other officers. — Charge 
respecting the withholding pay of the troops, considered 
and repelled. — Instructions of Paymaster-general to his 
subordinate officers. — Coiys paid, lost as many men, as 
those "ivhich were unpaid. — Slanders against General 
Wilkinson entirely unsupported by evidence. — Captain 
Gibson''s and Captain Christie-s evidence referred to, re- 
specting treatment of the sick. — Civilians employed when 
military medical men were sick. — Colonel Parker^s re- 
turn of troops for march. — Hospital established under the 
eye of General Wilkinson. — .Address from medical officers 
to General Wilkinson, on his giving up the command of 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 403 

the army at Washington. — General Wilkinson appeals to 
his orderly book, for proof of his attention to the sick. — 
General order of Sept. 2d, lS09.—Jict of the I6th March, 
1802, constituting the peace establishment, referred to. — 
Appointment of military agents under that act, and their 
duties. — The military agents being independent of mili- 
tary controul, highly prejudicial to military operations. — 
The relativii situation of military agents and War De- 
partment considered. — The Secretary of War" s f fly dollar 
restriction letter. — His letter, respecting the application 
of money in bank at JS'^e^v Orleans, to public purposes. — 
lihistration of the powers reserved by the Secretary of 
War. — Letter of the acting Secretary, specially autho- 
rising the purchase of musqnitoe nets. — The Secretary 
of War refuses payment. — Of Abraham Jlbrahams^s bill of 
cjcchange for 1140. — Provisional appointment of Andrew 
.M'Culloch esq. as military agent. — His instructions. 

Charged, g-eiitlemcn, with « disobedience of chap, 
ORDERS, AND NEGLECT OF DUTY," after moFc than ^^' 
twenty-five years actual and active service, I owe it to ^^j^^ ^^ 
our country, and to tije army, to vindicate my conduct nitude of 
against aspersions, which involve the essence of military of d*isobe^ 
character. dience of 

i< Ncg-Iect of duty," is, in itself, a disqualification for and the 
service; but ** disobedience of orders," violates the fun- penalty 
damental principles of military institutions ; and the of- ^^ j^ " 
fender incurs the penalty of death! I hope, therefore, 
I shall be excused, for occupying the time of this court, 
in the attempt to ascertain, the rights, obligations, and 
principles of our profession, and, by distinguished ex- 
amples, to support my doctrine, and assert my inno- 
cence. 

I return, gentlemen, to the order of the 22d of June, impera- 
which is imperative, and unqualified, as to the embar- ^'^e tenor 
kation and movement of the troops, and, at the same order of 
time, strictly cautionary as to expenditures. I am com- 22d June, 
manded, « Lmmediately to embark ALL the troops 
ON board of gun boat?." JVo exception is made with 



4)04* 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
XI. 

Uncondi- 
tional re- 
strictions, 
AS to ex- 
pendi- 
tures. 



General 
Wilkin- 
son's em- 
barrass- 
ment, re- 
specting- 
transport 
andexpcU' 
Uilure. 



respect to the sick or convalesccntf but lum to embark ALL 
THE troops; of course the sick and the well; and no pro- 
vision is made, should the transport, provided for me, fail 
in season or capacity; at the same time, I am canliomd, 
with much solemnity, against expenditures, except for 

THE PRESERVATIOX OF THE HEALTH AND LIVES OF THE 

OFFICERS AND MEN; and, at the instance of the accountant 
of the war departme7it, a memorandum of , articles, pur- 
chased at JVT?w Orleans, is transmitted me, under the same 
envelope, the prices of which are deemed inadmissible, and 
I am required to interpose my authority, and put a stop 
TO THEM, although many of those very articles, were pur- 
chased for THE comfort, accommodation AND CURE OF 
THE SICK. 

I am persuaded, .gentlemen, you cannot but feel indig- 
nant at the impertinent interference, of the accountant 
Simmons, who is unknown to the army, but as tiie ad- 
juster of accounts; and you will agree with me, that if 
Ids reports, suffice to arrest a military operation, all its- 
ponsibility is dissolved, and there is an end to honoura- 
ble and effective service. 

Whoever reads my letter of the 23d of July, will per- 
ceive my embarrassments, on the subject of transport, 
and expenditure: « I trembled at the idea of ex- 
penditure ;" but the same letter will shew, that I com- 
menced the execution of the order, of the 22d of June, 
with the utmost promptitude and alacrity. Yet, as that 
order, assigned the gun boats, spc( ifically, for the trans- 
port of the troops, it, in eftect, precluded evei-y other re- 
sort; because it was, obviously, founded on tlie ground 
of economy, and any other mode, of my own adoption, 
would have exposed me, to Mr. Sinimons's invidious cri- 
ticisms ; and, therefore, if I had adhered rigorously to 
this instruction, I should Jiave been, literally, justified by 
my profession, for any delay wliich might have ensued. 
If, then, the detention of the troops, at Camp Terre aux 
BoM(fs, until Se])tember, was blameable, tl»e blame does 
not lie at my door, but tiiat of the seci'^.^ary of war, for 
failing to furnish, in due season, the transport promised 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 405 

in the order, of the 22d of June ; and omitting to make chap. 
seasonable provision, or any provision at all, to i*emedy ' 

the defect of such failure. But it appears, from the se- 
cretary's letter,* of the 10th of September, 1809, that he 
did not, at that time, expect the troops had moved, much 
earlier than they re;illy did: the letter has been read in 
evidence, and contaitts the following paragraph : 

<« As the removal of the troops, from their encamp- 
ment, at Terre aux Boeufs, will have been efl'ected, and 
as it is deemed expedient, you should be present at the 
seat of government, you will be pleased, on the receipt 
of this letter, to make your arrangements accordingly, 
and proceed to Washington.'* 

But what was my conduct? I obeyed the spirit of the Notwlth- 

order, and, in aid of the secretary's views, I despatched standing 

an express for the damaged boats, accidentally discover- stiictions, 

ed to be at Fort Adams; and, having ascertained the in- ^^ *°^^' 
. '^ penditure, 

suthciency of the gun-boats, I procured private barges. General 

from New Orleans, on the most reasonable terms to the Wilkinson 

ventures 
public ; but, as the primary condition of this engage- to hire 

ment, involved the repair and equipment of these boats, ^^^S^^' 
delay was unavoidable. 

To demonstrate my incessant exertions, and personal 
exposure, to accelerate the movement, of the troops from 
Terre aux Bffiufs, agreeably to my orders, I will refer to 
the testimony of Colonel Beall, Captains Pinkney and 
Dale, and Lieutenant M'Cormick jf and, if necessary, I 
could refiT to every honourable man, who served under 
me ; and, to prove, incontrovertibly, the urgency with 
which, I pressed for the gun-boats, and their almost total 
failure, I will call the attention of the court, to my cor* 
respondence:j: with Captain Porter, and Lieutenant Car- 
roll, the senior officers of the navy on the station, which 
have been read in evidence. 



* See Appendix, No. CX. f See Appendis, No. CXI- 

* See Appendix, No. CXIl. 



406 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Finally, lour gun-boats, only, were furnished ; ihey 

^'' reached Camp Terrc aux Bceufs, on the 8th of Scpteni- 

Dtficicncv ^^'^' "'"' ^'^^^^^^ ^''^ "^'•'^^ morning with the rifle corps. 

of naval It has been obscrveil, that the order r'f the 22d of June, 

lanspoi . commanded me to embark, all the troops for Fort 

Adams, and Natchez, after reserving the garrisons of 

New Orleans, and Fort St. Philip, without respect to 

SICK OR WELL ; but humanity forbade, the strict execu- 

Gtneral tion of this order; and, on the 22d of August, I ordered* 

Wilk]!!- Doctor Claiuie, to embark, on the 24th, " with such men 
son s ar- ' 

ia»ge- and ollicer^, as were fit subjects, for the general hospital, 

"mba^k"^^ and incapable of sustaining the voyage to Natchez, and 

ing the to proceed with them to New Orleans;" which service 

hirsekc ^^^^ performed, without accident or misfortinie. 

tjon of the On the 25th, to ascertain the capacity, and condition 

they-ene- °^ *'*^ troops, for the movement, I issued the following 

ral hospi- order : 
tal. 

« Returns from companies, are to be made to the Inspec- 
tor this evening, to designate such men as may require 
personal assistance, on the depending movement; of the 
convalescents who are able to take care of themselves, 
but cannot march ; and of those who are able to march, 
with, and without knapsacks, arms and accoutrements.'' 

And on the 28th, I order, 

"The sick, requiring attendance, and the most feeble 
convalescents, to be embarked on board the gun-boats, 
and their respective corps to furnish able bodied men, in 
the ratio of one to four, to take care of the invalids. 
Doctors Thruston, Cutter and Goodlet to have charge of 
them." 

But this last disposition, was disappi'oved by the offi- 
cers, and it was discovered, that it would make too great 
a drain from our medical stall'; it was therefore mo- 
dified. 

* See Appendix, No. CIII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 407 

t have exhibited a report,* bearing date, August the chap. 
arth, 1809, duly attested, aud read in evidence, which ^^• 
gives the following result : 

« Able to march with arms, accoutrements, and Field re- 

knapsacks - - 632 P"''^"^ 

* the troops, 

<« Able to march without arms, accoutrements or on the 

knapsacks - - 350 f^^g ''^"S"- 

« Convalescents who can take care of themselves, 

but cannot march - - 382 

" Sick requiring personal assistance - 178 

Thus it appears, from these returns rendered by com- 
panies, and signed by the commanding officers of each, 
that out of a total of 1542, present at Terre aux Boeufs, 
982 were able to march ; 382 able to take care of them- 
selves, but unable to march j and 178 requiring personal 
assistance. 

But such were my feelings, for the fate of those, who 
were ordered on this fatal movement, that, at New Or- 
leans, when too ill to leave my bed, I ordered a further 
selection of subjects, fit for the hospital; and it appears, 
by tlie certificate! of Doctors Thruston and Dunham, 
duly attested, and read in evidence, that sixty-eight men 
were selected, and sent to the hospital ,• and yet I am 
charged with " neglect of duty — -In not selecting, pre- 
vious to the removal of the troops, to the Mississippi 
Territory, and leaving in the hospital at New Orleans, 
uuder the care of proper officers and physicians, such of 
the sick and convalescent, as could not be removed, w ith- 
out manifest, and increasing danger of their lives;" and 
who is brought forward to support the charge? Lieute- 
nant-colonel Backus, who, on his oath, declares, «• He 
was appointed a Major of cavalry, in October, 1808, and 
was promoted to a Lieutenant-colonelcy, eighteen months 
after; he joined service,/or the first time^ the 10th of May, 
1809, at New Orleans, remained with his corps until the 

* See Appendix, No. CIV. t See Appendix, No. CV. 



408 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, middle of February, 1810, and has done no duty since; 

^'' he APPLIED FOR A FURLOUGH, to General Hampton, who 

CoJcnel ORDERED HIM* ON COMMAND, to the city of Washington, 

Backus's where he was paid for more than fifteen hundred milea 

ferredto, travel, at the rate of §10 per hundred miles.'* 

and the Here, tlien, we have a field officer, who was under 

sum re- 
ceived by CONSTANT PAY FOR THREE YEARS, during whlch time, 

him, for j^g ij^g PERFORMED ONLY NINE MONTHS SERVICE ; and 
travelling- 
expenses, besides his pay, has received three or four hundred 

DOLLARS, FOR TRAVELLING EXPENSES; and It is by such 
inexperienced men, my military conduct is to be cri- 
ticised ! 

But what says this veteran Lieutenant-colonel 
OF horse, when called and questioned, on the part of the 
prosecution ? he declares on his oath, " That when en- 
camped a little above New Orleans, orders were given, 
by Gen< ral Wilkinson, for a selection of the sick, and 
that those who were fit subjects for the hospital, should 
be sent there ; but the surgeons appointed to examine (he 
cannot recollect what surgeons) said, that tlie hospital 
was not large enough to receive all, and they did not 
know what to do ; that the selection was limited, to the 
number the hospital could contain ; that between tJdriy 
and forty were sent to it, all in one boat, and that many 
sick were, therefore, obliged to ascoid the river ; these 
thirty or forty were sent to the hospital, the morning tlie 
troops marched, and the boat did not retui'n, before they 
were in motion/' When cross-examined by the prisoner, 
we have the following result : 

« Question. — Being ordered, by the Gener.al, when 
near New Orleans, to select the worst cases among the 
sick, and send them to the general hospital, was it not 



* He was sent by General Hampton to Washington, to bear witness 
against me, and to co-operate with Major Darrington, for my destruc- 
tion, before the horrible conclave, of which Thomas Newton was 
chairman; might it be uncharitable to say, his travelling expenses 
were a " quid pro quo." 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 409 

your duty to have seen, that order carried into €Xe- chap. 
cution ? - ^^• 

*< Answer. — I conceived so, and acted according to the 
tenor of the oidei-s, as far as was practicable. 

'• Question. — Did you, or any other person, to your 
knowledge, represent to the General, the insufficiency of 
tlie hospital, and require more room for the reception af 
the worst cases, ordered to be left ? 

« Jlnswer. — There was no such representation to my 
knowledge." 

Here, then, we find a prejudiced, willing witness, 
brought up to convict me, not only failing in proof, but 
producing testimony tending to my acquittal, was other 
testimony wanting ; he acknowledges, that I ordered the 
Subjects fit for the hospital, to be selected. 

He acknowledges, that a selection was made, that the 
number was limited to the capacity of the hospital, antf 
that thirty or forty were sent to it.^ 

He declares, that the surgeons said, the hospital was 
too small to receive the whole number of the sick, but, 
that tliis report was not made to the General. 

He acknowledges, tliat having received the order, for 
the selection of the sick for the hospital, it was his duty 
to Jiave seen it carried into execution; but, that he failetl 
to perform that duty, by not reporting to me, the insuffi- 
ciency of the hospital to receive the sick. 

He acknowledges, in a subsequent part of his evidence, 
that, at the time of the movement, I lay very ill in N^w 
Orleans. 

Now, it is apparent, from tijese acknowledgments, 
that the Lieutenant-colonel of horse, being, tlien, 
in the chief command of the detachment, under orders of 
murch up the river, negleitcd his duty, essentially, by 
not rcpoi'ting to tiic General the execution of tlie order, 
he had received from him ; and, in consequence of this 
neglect, if any of the unfortunate soldiers, were exposed ^ 
to the marcii, when they ouglit to have b«en sent to the 

VOL. 11. 3 F 



410 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
XI. 



hospital, THIS HORSE OFFICER, himsclf, merits condem- 
nation and punishment, and not the General j in as much, 
as he could not, while confined to his room, divine either 
the condition of the troops, or the circumstances of tlic 
hospital; yet, it is a fact, too broad for controversy, that 
two empty barracks adjoining the established hospital, were 
competent to receive Jive hundred men, over and above the, 
then, garrison ; and, if we cast an eye to the depositions* of 
those excellent officers, Captains Ragan, Wallace, Whar- 
tenby, and Gibson, we shall perceive, that tliey, all com- 
manding companies, found no want of hospital room, for 
their sick. 

But what will be your feelings, gentlemen, after all 
the exertion that has been made, to convict me of neglect 
of duty, and inhumanity, when you examine tlie follow- 
ing certificate, of the Surgeons, actually appointed to 
make the selection. 



Certifi- 
cate of 
Doctors 
Thruston 
and Dun- 
ham. 



ft Report oj sick to be sent to JVTJtt; Orleans, agreeably to 
order from General Wilkinson, the ± 5th September, 1809. 

oD REGIMENT INFANTRY. 

Captain Darrington''s company. 
Hawkins. . Reeves. Mcchenfes. Conrad Smith. S(t 
lomon Jackson. 

Captain Pasteur^s company. 
Corly Lewis. Johnes Mason. 

Captain Laxv^s company. 
John ISIoore. Rodeiick Haney. John Johnes. Ser- 
jeant John Wilson. Luke Lenton. 

Captain Mkinson^s company. 
Prisley Earley. William Pickett. 

• See testimonies of Captains Ragan, M'Pherson, and Cutler, bc« 
fore this court. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 411 

Captain Hmistoti's company. CHAP. 

Lazanjs Crawford. William BleiiUerme. Joseph ^^' 
Toxeye. Samuel Johnson. Seth Smith. 

7th regiment infantry. 

Captain J^icholas*s comjmny. 
Evans. Bowman. Harris. Howard. Webster. 

Captain Cutter's company. 

Corporal Denham. Adam Voltenbery. John EI- 
dvidge. Smal Rea. 

Captain Floyd's company. 
Joumeyan. Mark Dyer. William Viers. 

5th bjegiment infantry. 

Captain Long's company. 
John Hicks. 

Captain Bankhead's company. . 
Thomas Kimm. 

Captain Dillard's company. 
Ash. Philip Eagle. Matthew Gale. Gabriel Jones. 

Captain Williams's company. 
Ellis Mahoney. Moses Row. Stephen Johnson. 

Captain Dale's company. 
Serjeant Mainlove. Corporal Burrows. John Mills. 
George Lathau. 

Captain Wallace's company. 
James Walker. 

Captain Gibson's company. 
Henry Cutts. Henry Horner. Thomas M<Min. 



MS MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. IIGHT DRAGOONS. 

XI. 



Captain BiddWs company, 
Matthew Brown. Robert Hutchinson. John Wolfe. 
Jacob Former. Edward L. Hodgson. Serjeant Francis 
Hubert. Charles Hewick. John Halloway. 

Captain LuckeVs company. 
Edward Freckelton. Charles de Soent. George Ni- 
ton. Joseph Judlin. William Tracy. Christian Smith. 
Edward M'Mullin. 

Captain Cole^s company. 
John Wilson. Daniel Leacoft. Stephen M'Coy. 

*< We certify, that we have examined the different re- 
giments and companies, within named, and report those, 
named as above, fit for the hospital in New Orleans ; that 
they are incapable of standing the march, now before 
them, and that, upon inspection, we report tliat there are 
several of the men, in this report, who are fit subjects for 
discharge J some have hernias, and others with sore legs 
of long standing. 

« Given under our hands at Camp near New Orleans, 
this 17th Sept. 1809. 

(Signed) « ALFRED THRUSTON, ] 

« Surgeon 7th Infantry. 

"LEWIS DUNHAM, 

a Surgeon of Dragoons." 

If there had been a deficiency of quarters to have re- 
ceived the men, deemed actually unfit, at the moment, to 
ascend the river, it was the duty not only of the command- 
ing qfficerf Lieutenant-colonel Backus, but, particularly, 
that of the examining surgeons, to have reported it to 
me; and we have here, the very circumstantial certifi- 
cate of tlwse surgeons, in which we find no indication, of 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 418 

ii want of hospital i-oom; but we discover a broad con- chap. 
vzction, OF THE Lieutenant-colonel s accommoda- 
TING CONSCIENCE, to speak of it in tlie gentlest terms. 

To aggravate my neglects, the Lieutenant-colonel be- 
lieved it necessary, to contract the hospital at New Or- 
leans to the smallest compass possible ^ and, therefore, 
he sxvears, that thirty or forty men only, could be got into 
it, from the troops under his orders, then on marcli for 
Natchez; — But what is the fact? — Look, gentlemen, at 
the report of the examining surgeons, and you will find, 
the names of sixty-eight men, who were scii^ into the 
hospital, from those very troops, at the precise peiiod, to 
which the Lieutenant-colonel refers. 

Here, gentlemen, we have a fair specimen, of the style, 
and character, of the testimony produced against me, be- 
fore the committees of Congress and this court; — inte- 
rested informers, willing witnesses, and worthless offi- 
cers, whose conscious demerits, dii-ect their eyes to the 
i'estitution of my sword, as the signal for their retreat 
from a service they disgrace. 

My accusers would infer, from what circumstance I 

know not, that my general hospital, at New Orleans, 

was unprovided with "suitable officers and physicians;'* 

but, as it appears, to be a mere matter of speculation, 

unsupported by the shadow of evidence, I shall content 

myself with offering the testimony, of Captain Christie 

and Captain M*Pherson, on the subject; and will call Compari- 

the attention of the court, to the striking contrast, be- state of 

tween. the hospital at New Orleans, under my orders, ^^^ iiospi- 

and the provisions made for the sick, of the garrisons in Orleans, 

the harbour of New York, all stationed on islands, and ""der Ge- 
neral Wil- 
withont surgeons, medicine and hospital stores. Captain kinson's 

Christie, on his examination, makes the declarations ""^^^^f"' 

With those 

which follow, to the 2d and 4th interrogatories, put by of New 

the prisoner, viz. T"'^,' ""' 

* ' der the 

direction 

" question 2d. — Were you acquainted, with the offi- "l^^'^^ ''^' 
cers of the hospital, at New Orleans? Had you an oppor- wur. 



414, MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, tunitj, of examining the accommodation, and treatment 
^^ of the sick ? If so, be pleased to state particulars. 

« dnswer.> — I was intimately acquainted, with Doctor 
Spenser (sin'gcon), and Doctor Macaulay (surgeon's 
mate), the army physicians in New Orleans. Doctor 
Spenser, who stood high in bis profession, and was ex- 
perienced in tlic diseases of the climate, (having exten- 
sive practice in the tow n) visited extraordinary cases iu 
the garrison and liospital. 

<« Doctor Macaulay had the immediate, and principal 
superintendence of the hospital : his care and ability, in 
managing it, were aj)plauded by every one, I ever heard 
speak on the subject; in fact, he rendered that institution, 
in point of organisation, and police, equal to any of the 
kind I evef saw : I never knew sick soldiers, meet with 
any thing like the care, and attention they received 
there. 

« Question 4f/t.— Have you ever found a deficiency of 
medical aid, medicines and hospital stores, at any post in 
the Atlantic states ? 

" Answer. — The only army physician, in the harbour 
of New York, resides and practises in the city. 

« Governor's island is about a mile from the city ; 
Bcdlow's and Ellis's islands, are about two miles from 
it ; not to mention the difficulty of crossing, in tempes- 
tuous Aveather. I have frequently sent my boat for the 
physician, and not been able to find him j so that it oftea 
happens, that sick men are not seen by him, for a day 
or two, at a time. As to medicines and hospital stores, 
there were none on Ellis's island: I sometimes procured 
a little from Rcdlow's island, where there was but a very 
scanty supjily: I have heard the medicines and hospital 
stores, repeatedly, complained of, by the physician, as to 
({uantity, quality and assortment: they were, usually, 
sent on from Philadelphia, though I did hear of his hav- 
ing once received permission, from tiie secretary of war, 
to purchase to the amount of a hundred dollars iu New 
York.'* 



GENERAL WILSINSON. 415 

Captain M<Plierson, on his examination, makes the chap. 
declarations which follow, to the 10th and 11th interro- ^^^ 
gatoi'ics, put by the prisoner. 

*< Question lOtli. — What was the medical attendance in 
the liarbour of New York, at that time? (the summer 
and fall of 1810.) 

" Jinswer. — There were two physicians; one attend- 
ing Governor's, and the other Ellis's and Bedlow's 
islands ; the one a citizen and a practitioner in the city, 
the other of the army, and, I think, likewise practising 
in the city. During tempestuous weather, it was almost 
impossible for them to give proper attention to the gar- 
risons. 

«< The sick, on Bedlow's island, during my command, 
liave been days and nights, without anedical assistance, 
from the pbysiciau, and in the fall and winter, it would, 
frequently, have been impracticable, to have rowed a 
boat to Bedlow's island. 

" I remember, that Captain Johnson, commanding on 
Ellis's island, prescribed to his sick, as I did, some- 
times, from necessity, to mine. 

*« Q^uestion llth. — Do you think it po.ssible, for a phy- 
sician, residing in the city, to attend those islands with 
effect ? 

" Answer. — I do not i for, in tlie fall and the winter 
months, I have known several attempts, to be made with 
a boat of six oars, to pass to the city from Bedlow's 
island, without effect, and at the risk of every life on 
board ; therefore, in case of a sudden, and dangerous at- 
tack of sickness, a soldier might expire before assistance 
could reach him; or a physician might be drowned, in 
the attempt to offer it; the one who attended Bedlow's 
island, had nearly met this fate, and, as well as I recol- 
lect, some of i>is boat's crew perished. 

" The gi'eat fogs on the bay, are, of themselves, an 
obstacle to siich attendance, for persons are sometimes 
on the water, several hours, without being able, to reach 
the point they set ©ut for, at a very short distance." 



4,iQ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. With equal justice, I am accused of "so distributing 
^' tlie nion in transports, as to incommode both the sick 
^"^^'"^'^^ and the well." 

Any person, who commences a military prosecution, 
should certainly understand the ordinary principles of 
service; for, if this charge could apply to any body, it 
would be to my subordinates. 
Rule of In the movement of armies, gentlemen, need I tell you, 

examined ^'^^^ is the rule of service ? Does the minister of war 
in respect prescribe the mode, or provide the means of transport? 
march of Certainly not, in any army of the world but our own ; 
military and with US, the very act dissolves the responsibility of 
sorps. ^i^g officer, and attaches it to the minister : and what will 
be the result of such an innovation ? Inefficiency, failure, 
and misfortune, nine times out of ten : if foresight, vigi- 
lance, activity, zeal, talents, skill and experience, be ne- 
cessary to the able conduct of armies, no man (as i have 
before observed) can comn>and, with effect, at a distance ; 
much le.ss one, utterly unacquainted w ith military science, 
or the art of war. — A Carnot may, by telegraphic com- 
munications, direct the co-operation of distant armies; 
but he can neither direct the march, nor figlit the battle; 
these functions are inseparable from the commander on 
the spot; the rule of service, in the movement of ar- 
mies, is this: — the chief, aided by his staff, makes the 
necessary estimate of transport, for any impending march, 
and assigns the quantum for the diffeiTiit corps, in due 
propoition : he then gives orders to the quai'ter-master 
general, to provide and distribute; and the commanding 
officers of corps, become answerable for a fair and equal 
distribution, to their regiments, battalions, and compa- 
nies ; but with the handful of troops I commanded, and 
w itliout a staff to aid oi- co-operate with me, I, in person, 
made tlie distribution of boats to the corps, and if they 
were not, afterwards, fairly divided among tlic compa- 
nies, it was the fault of their commanding officers, or the 
regimental quarter-master. 

Tliat the diseased men, and those in health, should 
move together, was a necessary consequence of the move- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. M7 

nient; because the former were indispensable to work the chap. 

boats, and take care of the latter. I make no doubt, that ^^" 

the boats became crowded in the progress of the voyage^ 

but this did not proceed from any defect in the original 

arrangement; it was the inevitable consequence of the 

movement itself. 

To test the fact, as to the capacity of the boats, pro- Ample 

vided by me, to receive the troops, and to exhibit the *i'^"*PO'''^ 
*' * provided. 

precautions, I adopted, to make a fair distribution of the 
transport ; I beg to call the attention of the court, to the 
return* of tlie 27th of August, 1809, which from 1542, 
the aggregate of the troops at Terre aux Boeufs, gives 
982 able to march, leaving about one-third with the boats j 
yet it will not be denied, that the whole number did em- 
bark in the boats, provided for their ascent of the river, 
at Terre aux Boeufs, and traversed the Mississippi, from 
the left to the right bank, where it was a mile wide. 

It follows, then, of necessity, that if the transport was 
competent to receive 1542 men, it certainly could accom- 
modate half that number. 

No doubt, the march presented a scene of disease and Causes 
death ; it had been anticipated by hundreds : every day Crowded 
multiplied the sick, and crowded the boats, until there the boats. 
was scarely a man left who could crawl : — But, gentle- 
men, I am not to be held responsible, for the conse- 
quences of an order, which I was bound to execute, in 
tlie best manner in my power. 

Captain Gibson, of the light artillery, who was brought 
forward to criminate me, swears, '* he heard no comjdaints 
for want of transport; that he was satisfied, and he be- 
lieves. Captain Darrington was also satisfied with his bat- 
teau, called by him, the Royal George,''^ Captain Ragan 
made the voyage, •' on board a gun boat; he had no men 
Tvhom he considered fit subjects for the hospital, as he pass- 
ed JVew Orleans, and was comfortably provided with cloth- 
ing, medicines, hospital stores and provisions; yet his well 

* See Appendix, No. CVIII 
VOL. II. 3 G 



418 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, men sickened and died; he lost foiir men at Camp Tene 

^^' aux Bocufs, and after he left that place about thirty.^'^- 

Instance Evcn in my own light barge, with a stout chosen crew 

of disease of twenty, where nothing of convenience or comfort was 

General's wanting, in spite of every care and attention, my men 

barge. sickened, and three of them died on the voyage. f 

Dreadful The sun, the dews, and the noxious exhalations from 

mortality ^^^ banks of the I'ivcr, were not to be resisted by the 

produced '' 

by the strongest constitution J and thus the predictions of Cap- 

SeTroo^s *^^" Dale, of Doctors Upshaw and Thornton, and many 
others, were laincntal)ly verified : — '* Youii sick will 
DIE, AND YOUR WELL WILL SICKEN," Said the mcrito- 
rious Dale, when I asked Ijis opinion of the movement. 

To augment the mass of crimination, and, it would 
seem, to compensate the defects of the quality, by the 
immensity of the quantity ; I art charged, with " not giv-- 
ing orders to the troops, to receive their necessary cloth- 
ing, pay, medicines and hospital stores." 

It will not require much time or pains, gentlemen, tojj 
expose the fallacy of these charges: with respect to tlu 
clothing, it is to be remarked, that it was not addressee 
to me, nor did I receive orders or advice respecting it. 
The anar- When our military establishment was on the soundest 
de-,°t.^^^ footing, atone time a quarter-master general, and at ano- 
ment of ther a clothier-general, received and distributed the cloth- 
espoused ^"•^'* ^^ regiments and corps, under the ordei-s of the com- 
mander; subsequent to the revolution, and during th( 
Indian war, the same course was piirsued ; the regimen- 
tal paymasters:): used, formerly, to keep the accounts of 
clothing, and iield the captains of companies responsi- 
ble ; but, in the year 1807, by an ordinance of the wtii 
department, of the 1st of December, the commandini 
officers of companies were directed, to make annual re- 
turns for clothing, directly, to that department; and the 
practice has since obtained, to pack and mark the cloth- 

* See Captain Kagan's testimony. 
f See Captain Plnkney's testimony, 
t See deposition of Captain Fijikney. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 419 

ing, distinctly, for each company, and address it, some- chap. 
times, directly to the captains, and, sometimes, to other ^'' 
officers; in fact, 1 know of no fixed rule, for the govern- 
ment of this important department. 

It is manifest, fi'om my general orders, that clothing 
had been offered for issue, at Camp Ten e aux Bceufs j 
and Colonel Beall, Captain Gibson, Captain Wallace, 
and other officers prove, that a partial distribution took 
place there, and tliat a surplus was left on hand, and 
carried up to New Orleans. If it should be asked, where 
this clothing came from, I would answer, that it had been 
sent to the Mississippi, for Strong's and Swan's com- 
panies, which were reduced, and the clothing was car- 
ried, by mistake, to Terre aux Bceufs. 

To exemplify the improvidence and total want of sys- Case of 
tem, in this most expensive department, I will state, from ^y '^}^' 
recollection, that clothing for two complete companies, two com- 
(Bcall's and Desha's) w as forwarded from Philadelphia, P*"'-^*' 
in the year 1809 ; the first to New Orleans, and, I think, 
the last to Gibson's Port, in tlsc Mississippi territory. 
Beall never accepted his appointment, and Desha soon 
resigned; and it will be difficult, I conceive, to discover 
w':;\t became of the clothing addressed to them; for, 
since the abandonment of those principles and practices, 
\\hich governed and directed our revolutionary career, 
in all the great departments of the army, it is a question, 
in my breast, whether a single account of expenditures, 
in any branch, has been definitively adjusted, excepting 
that of the paymaster. Wliat, then, has become of res- General 
poiisibility, t'te life and soul of military service? It has ""^'^ "" 

ciuct 01 

yielded, Mr. President, to the entire disruption of that ii)c wai- 

chain of subordination, and dependence, on which the f^'^P^rt- 

ment. 
effect of militar} institutions depends; it has been sacri- 
ficed to projects and innovations, at hostility with those 
institutions. Permit me to illustrate my ideas : — The 
army, it is said, is commanded by the general; but the 
officers who are appointed to meet every expense, act 
under specifi.c insti'uctions, from the war department, 



430 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
XT. 



Lieute- 
nant-colo- 
nel Back- 
us's testi- 
mony, re- 
specting- 
the issue 
of clo- 
thing'. 



and are often auilioriscd, to controul the general's ar-- 
rangements. 

As to the clothing, arms, and military stores, tliey ap- 
pear to be under no general superintendence.* 

In the 8th section of the act, to fix the military peace 
establishment of the United States, it is enacted, that the 
troops sliall have a specific annual allowance of clothing, 
*< and the secretary of war in authorised to cause to be 
furnished, to the paymasters of the respective districts, 
such surplus clothing as he may deem expedient ; which 
clothing shall, under his direction, be furnished to the 
soldiers, when necessary, at the contract prices ; and 
accounted for by them, out of their arrears of monthly 
pay." 

Hence it may be inferred, that it was intended, the 
uniform clothing should be distributed, and accounts of 
it kept by the district paymasters; but no such arrange- 
ment has existed to my knowledge. 

With respect to ray neglect, on this head, it is attempt- 
ed to be supported, by the testimony of Lieutenant-colo- 
nel Backus; and what docs he state? — "That some of 
the men, in his corps, suffered for want of clothing, and, 
from what he saw and heard, other corps also suffered : 
several of his officers mentioned, that they woidd like to 
have a part of the clothing, such as blankets, shoes and 
pantaloons, of which they were mostly destitute. Ho 
heard none express a wish for a full delivery ; and he 
knows, many of the officers were opposed to receiving 
their clothing at that time : he supposes a general deli- 
very, would have been burthensome, and that a part of 
the clothing would, in such case, have been lost; [but 
he docs not know, that any application was made to the 
General on the subject of clothing.*' j] But the Lieutenant- 
colonel has sworn, " that in general orders, at Terre aux 
Boeufs, returns for clotiiing were required, and that a 

* See the testimony of Captains Pinkney and MTherson, on tlie 
subject of clothing. 
■\ Left out by the judge advocate. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. *21 

quantity was issued; but that a sufficient supply could chap. 
not be obtained, the General observing, it was not due v^-v^>^ 
yet." He admits, " that about the time the troops 
moved from that place, he understood, a quantity of sur- 
plus clothing was removed, from Terre aux Boeufs, to 
New Orleans." [He adds, •« that he saw some of the 
clothing (the new clothing), after tlie troops reached 
Washington, Mississippi territory ; that some of it was 
not sewed together, and had no buttons."*] 

Now, what shall I offer, in refutation of this charge? 
Is any thing more necessary, than the testimony of this 
witness ? — on whom ray accusers have so much relied. 
He says, no application was made to me for clothing, 
« at New Orleans;" and, of course, if the distribution 
of the article had depended, entii*ely, on my volition, no 
issue could have been made; because, it was impossible 
for me to understand, the individual wants of the sol- 
diery, except through the medium of their officers; but 
the clothing being packed, and addressed to the company 
officers, by the public agent, at Philadelphia, there exists 
no regulation, within my knowledge, to prevent his de- 
manding it when due: the very idea of delivering new 
clothing to troops, about to commence a toilsome march, 
into winter quarters, is too preposterous for a soldier to 
dwell upon a moment; and, in our situation. Colonel 
Backus's claim, to partial issues, is equally absurd ; since 
there was no person, authorised to make such issues, or 
obliged to keep accounts of the articles issued. Here 
again, if the troops suffered for clothing, it 7vas the fault 
of their officers, and not of the General; but, from the 
flimsy, loose, contradictory tenor of Lieutenant-colonel 
Backus's testimony, throughout, it will obtain no credit, 
when opposed to that of such officers as Captains Ragan, 
Wallace, Gibson, Cutler and Whartenby : some of these 
gentlemen refused to draw clothing, at Terre aux Boeufs, 
and they all agree, that they heard neither complaints. 

* Left out by the judge advocate, 



423 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
XI. 



Charge 
respect- 
ing the 



nor sufferings for the want of it, and as a matter of 
choice, would not have received it, at New Orleans. 

Lieutenant-colonel Backus says, that some of the new 
clothing, which he saw at Washington, was not sewed 
together — and had no buttons ', How, then, could it have 
been used, even if it had been issued ? Lieutenant-colonel 
Beall and Captain Gibson, declare the clothing was 
moved with tlie troops, and accompanied them up the 
river; and, in consequence, if the necessities of the troops 
required, it was always at hand. 

Tlie next of the minor offences, imputed to me, is the 
withholding the pay of the troops: which has been press- 
pay of the ed with an ardour, that threatened desolating conse- 
quences ; but, will not those, who have reposed faith in 
this charge, blush, as well for their ignorance as their 
injustice, when they peruse my " General Oniers," my 
letters to the seci-etary of war, and my correspojidencc 
with the Paymaster, Lieutenant Knight, on the subject ? 
let any one examine, the l6t.h section of the law, of the 
12th of April, 1808; let him peruse tlie instructions of 
the Paymaster-general, to his subordinates, and examine 
the deposition of the District Paymaster, Lit ut'Miant 
Knight, and if not dead to sensibility, they must reject 
this accusation. 

The District Paymasters are appointed by the Pay- 
master-general; they act under his orders, and arc re- 
sponsible to him. Lieutenant Knight being asked, « was 
it required of you, among the duties of your office, to 
wait for orders from General Wilkinson, before you paid 
the troops, or to pay them of your own accord?" — An- 
swers, on his oath ; "I conceived myself bound to make 
troops ^ ^ *^*^ payments, as punctually as I could, without xvaiting 
foi' orders" 

It is true, that he did propose, in the beginning of Sep- 
tember, to pay up the troops to that period ; but, what 
was our situation at the time? every Ijand, that could 
move, was actively engaged in preparation for the ascent 



Extract 
from the 
testimony 
of Lieut. 
Knight, 
respect- 
ing the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 423 

of the rivtr; the troops had been, just before, paid up to CHAP, 
the 30th of June, agreeably to law, and had received SlO J^L^ 
each man; more than sufficient for the march before 
them : vet, I opposed no other obstacle to his will, than 
merely to obsei've to him, that " the troops were about to Reasons 
move, and that the companies would be so divided, he troops 
would not be able to complete the payment." ^^ere not 

, _, , , paid at 

But it is evident, that the Paymaster did not conceive, Tene aux 
this an objection to tiie payment on my part, because it l^'^^^^- 
appears, from his deposition, <* tliat he afterwards paid 
up the 3d regiment, to the 1st of September; and he de- 
clares, on oath, that if the several regiments, or corps, 
had been provided with paymasters, and had called on 
him at New Orleans, as tliey ascended the river, he 
would have put funds into their hands to pay the troops." 

It will be seen from the same testimony, that, although 
unauthorised, I endeavoured, but in vain, to remedy the 
defect of Paymasters, by the appointment of Lieutenant 
Barrlay and Ensign Jamison; it follows, inevitably, 
that if the troops suffered for want of their pay, the 
blame cannot attach to me, because I liave no controul 
over the department. But why this charge? since it ap- 
pears from my letter, of the 13th of April, 1809, to the 
secretary of war, and from the testimony of the District 
Paymaster, himself, that great irregularity has always 
prevailed, in making payments to the troops. It appears, 
also, that I pointed out a remedy to the evil, in my let- 
ter, of the 15th of April, but that letter Was never, even, 
acknowledged. 

Lieutenant Knight, also, deposes, that *< after the 
troops had left New Orleans, on their march to the Mis- 
sissippi Territory, General Wilkinson sent for me to his 
quarters, when he was about leaving New Orleans, him- 
self, and asked me, if I were in readiness to ascend the 
river; and I replied, to iiim, that if I did go up, I should 
not be able to make arrangements, for paying the rest ot 
the troops in the district." Could I, consistently, compel 
him to abandon his instructions, and neglect some corps 
for the accommodation of others? And would I not have 



424. MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, justly incurred censure, by forcing him from New Or- 
^^' leans, which he, Lieutenant Knight, on his oath declares 
was the only place, where he could, *< conveniently, make 
general arrangements, for paying the troops, in the va- 
rious parts of the whole district?" 

After all the pains which have been taken, to compel 
mc to this exposition of facts, in defence of my reputa- 
tion, it may be said, with truth, that the enquiry is, ut- 
terly, unimportant, only as it may effect a reform of the 
pay department; for notwithstanding the opinions, which 
have been offered, about the sufferings of the troops, for 
the want of their pay, it is demonstrable, that if thevi^holc 
of them, had received the last cent of their arrearages, it 
would have worked no change in their destiny; to prove 
this, I w ill refer you, gentlemen, to the fate of the 3d re- 
giment of infantry, which was paid up to the 1st of Sep- 
tember, and yet lost as many men on the march, as any 
other corps, in proportion to its strcngtii ; and the same 
was the case with the companies, commanded by Captains 
Ragan, Wallace, Gibson and AViiartenby, whose men 
needed neither cash, clothing, nor hospital stores, as they 
]).ive sworn. 

The next, among the minor charges, imputes neglect 
to me, " In not giving orders to the troops, to receive 
their medicines and hospital stores." But I am not able 
to discover, on Avhat this charge is grounded, for, although 
degraded from command^ and hung up almost two years, as 
a spectacle of prhlic reproach, neither the power, the art, 
nor the corruption of tiic combination, formed against 
me, has been able to produce a particle of testimony, to 
sanction this slander, even, from among the number of pre- 
sumptuous opinionists, who have appeared against me. 

But, gentlemen, although this charge is too feeble to 
stand alone ; although it is unsupported by a shadow of 
trutli, and my simple denial would suffice, to thrown it to 
the groimd ; yet, I must intreat your indulgence, while I 
tall your attention to testimonies, not to refute a charge, 
as unsubstantial as " the baseless fabric of a vision," but 
to rescue the noblest sentiment of my breast, my sensibi- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 429 

lity to the ills of my fellow-creatures, from imputation. CHAP. 
Turn, gentlemen, to the acknowledgments of Lieutc- " 

nant-colonel Bacivus, and of Captain Gibson, of the light 
artillery, brought Turward, on the part of the prosecu- 
tion ; the first, after he had by misrepresentations, and 
by the suppression of truths, done all he could to destroy 
me, was, on his cross-examination, obliged to acknow- 
ledge before this court, that " I used every exertion to General 
supply the defect of medical assistance, and employed son's Ten- 
private pliysicians for the purpose; that I used every ex- derness to 
ertion, to procure comforts and necessaries for the sick ; 
and, also, fresh meat for the well, until tlie contractor 
began to furnish ; that I gave orders to the military agent, 
and brigade quarter-master, to supply stores, provisions, 
comforts, and necessaries for the use of the sick, and 
convalescents; and that I was very attentive to the 
sick, and did as much as could have been expected of 
a general officer." And Captain Gibson, bears testi- 
mony to my humanity, and ray attention to tiie sick, 
and confesses, that he owes his life, to my personal 
tenderness and care. " The General (says Captain 
Gibson) did pay the greatest attention to the police, 
health, and comfort of the troops; frequently visited the 
sick, and bestowed the most humane attention upon 
them ; I was taken to his quarters, wlien sick, and my 
life saved by his attentions." He knows, that physicians 
<'vvere employed to assist the surgeons of the army;" 
and of <•' medicine, during the movement up the river, 
there was more than could be used ;" he " presumes, the 
surgeon drew the usual supply of hospital stores, and he 
knows, he had a sufficiency of tea, sugar, chocolate, 
brandy, and wine :" he adds, " th.at Mr. M<Cormick, 
quarter-master to the 7th regiment, had charge of the 
boat, containing the quarter-master's stores, and attend- 
ed to the issue and distribution of hospital stores; but, 
whether the stores were sufticient for the whole army, he 
does not know." 

Tiiat highly respectable veteran Colonel Beall, whose 
information, founded on tlie experience of many years 

VOL. II, 3 H 



426 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, service, is worth whole squadrons of the military empi- 
^'' rics, who now infest the army, on his oath declares,* that 
"the General appeared very anxious with respect to the 
medical department^ frequently calling on the sjirgeons, 
consulting with them, enquiring into the state of the 
stores, 6cc. ; and when there was a want of medical aid, 
which was produced from the indisposition of our sur- 
geons, citizens of the profession were employed, (one at 
least) and in one instance, a Captainf of the line taken 
from his duty, and given the charge of a regiment; the 
General's anxiety and solicitude, for the comfort of the 
sick soldiers, did not rest on an enquiry of the usage and 
attendance j hut he, personally, visited the hospital and 
tents of the sick, both officers and men,* and frequently 
furnished the sick officers with wine; and took many 
that were dangerously ill, into his own quarters; some of 
the sick, as occasion required, were sent to the hospital 
at New Orleans. 

« As the want of hospital stores and medicine occur- 
red, (the vessel containing a supply of those articles from 
the states, not arriving until August) the General direct- 
ed them to he procured at New Orleans; as, also poul- 
try to be given to the men, most in need, at the discreti > n 
of the surgeons." 

Colonel Beall has also declared, before this court, that 
<' medicines and hospital stores, were issued, under his 
express orders, to the requisition of tlic surgeons, both 
at Point Coupee, and Fort Adams, in the route of the 
troops to Natchez." 

Captain Dale, of Delaware, who was compelled to act 
as a surgeon, at Terre aux Boeufs, to supply the defect 
of the medical staff, on his oath, declares:}: that « from 
tlic opportunity I had of observing the conduct, of the 

*' See Fourth Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Newton chair- 
aian, read in evidence before the court, not being printed. 

f Captain Dale. 

t See Fourth Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Newton cliair- 
man,, read in evidence before the coart. not bein|>- printed. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 437 

commander in chief on the New Orleans station, (and I chap. 
believe I had as good a one as any oflicer in the army, ^^• 
havin.i^ performed duties both in the line and medical 
staff) I believe him to be the accomplished gentleman, 
the gallant soldier, a father to his sick troops, and a sin- 
cere friend to his country." 

This gentleman, eminent for his professional skill, and 
distinguished for personal virtues, adds, " The progress 
of disease at Terre aux Boeufs, both in numbers and 
alarming symptoms, evidently bore proportion to the ad- 
vance of the summer heat ; thereby forcing conviction, 
on every sensible and reflecting mind, that the climate, 
and not the local situation of the camp, was the cause of 
tlie sickness among the troops. Had it been otherwise, * 
the diseases would have been, in an inverse ratio, greater 
in number, and more malignant in symptoms, in the 
months of June and July, when the wetness of the ground, 
and the police of the eamp were, confessedly, worse; but 
the official returns of the army prove, this not to be the 
fact. 

<• Making a proper allowance for raw recruits, the 
great dissimilarity between the soldiers and citizens' 
life, I have no doubt, tliat out of a given number of the 
natives of the coast, an equal number would have been 
found sick, with those in the army ; many of the planters 
liaving from thirty to forty slaves, confined at the same 
time.'* 

These observations, of an able and an experienced 
physician, on the spot, it is believed, will satisfy every 
candid miud, that no reliance is to be placed on the opi- 
nions, whicli have been sought with such avidity, from 
undisciplined field officers, and unfledged subalterns j to 
make the position, at Terre aux Bceufs, the cause of the 
diseases which afflicted the troops ; which commenced be- 
fore they landed at New Orleans, and progressed rapidly 
in that city, until their removal from it.* 

* See Colonel Parker's return for March, which shews, thai out of 
a detachment of 600 men, 200 sickened in the ascent of the river.— 



428 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Doctor Tliruston deposes, that " the attention of Gc- 
^^' ncral Wilkinson to the sick officers and soldiers, was 
very great : I have often seen him visit the sick in tlieir 
tents, and express great solicitude for their comfort and 
safety : I have heard him complain often, of th& want of 
attention of officers to their sick, and urge to them the 
necessity of such attention. 

« Those officers, who were most ill, were provided 
with quarters, and received the advantages of his table. 
I speak with truth, when I avow, that I never saw more 
anxiety and solicitude, by any person, than was shewn 
by the General, in the whole course of his command, at 
Terrc aux Boeufs." 

Captain Chrystie deposes, that <-' General Wilkinson's 
conduct towards the sick was such, as becomes a man 
and an officer: in his quarters were, always one or two 
sick; some of these strangers, with no claim upon him 
but their situation: he visited sick officers and men, fre- 
quently, in and out of hospital ; sent many of them wines 
from his own table, and was, in the case of more than 
one, both nurse and physician."* 

Captain Macpherson deposes, that the General was 
attentive to sick officers and men : <' His conduct, in this 
respect, was marked with the most impressive feeling; 
sick officers w^ere taken to the small house he occupied, 
where they received humane attentions ; the sick soldiers 
were removed from the line to the rear ; repeated orders 
were issued relative to their nourishment, and an hospi- 
tal establislied, directly, under his own eye, a few paces 
from his dwelling. 

See, also, the returns for April and May, and the secretary of war's 
acknowledgment of April 2rth, 1811, as follows : 

" By the returns of the 4th of March, it appears, that more than 
one-fourth part of the troops were sick." 

• See Fourth Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Newton chair- 
roan, rCad in evidence before the court, not being printed. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 429 

« Beside the army medical staff, citizen physicians chap. 
were employed, and the General seemed deeply and sen- ^^" 
sibly interested, in the fate of tlie troops."* 

Doctor Goodlet, before this court, on his oath, de- 
clares, that « General Wilkinson's attention to the hos- 
pital department, certainly, was incessant, and demon- 
strative of great anxiety for the sick. I recollect General 
Wilkinson called on Doctor Thruston and myself, and 
desired us to make out requisitions, for such articles of 
medicines and hospital stores, as might he necessary : he 
appeared to me to exert himself very much : I frequently 
saw him walking along the lines, a little after beat of re- 
veille, and he frequently called on me, while examining 
the sick, and then expressed himself in su.ch a manner, as 
to convince me, he was very solicitous about the welfare 
of the men. 

<< Doctor Claude went to New Orleans, from Terre 
aux Boeufs, by virtue of an order from General Wilkin- 
son, as I understood, for the purpose of getting medi- 
cines; and, in concert with Doctor Spencer, to select 
and distribute them among the different corps, according 
to their number, and their wants ; that duty, as I under- 
stood, was performed by Doctors Claude and Spencer, 
previously to my leaving Terre aux Boeufs. 

« I went in the same boat with Doctor Thruston, sur- 
geon of the 7th regiment, in which boat there were three 
companies of that regiment. I know they were supplied 
with medicines and hospital stores, because I frequently 
made use of medicines out of that boat, for those I at- 
tended, as it was more convenient to prepare my medi- 
cines, as the boat was moving. 1 do not recollect, that 
1 heard any complaints, and suppose there could have 
been none, as I knew the boat, in which Doctor Claude 
took his passage, had a supply of medicines and hospital 
stores, for the whole. I know this, because the articles 



* See Fourth Report Committee of Congress, Mr. Newton chair^' 
f-nan, read in evidence before the coQrt. 



4)30 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, of that description, to be left with the sick at Point Cou- 

■^*" pee, were taken out of that boat, or out of the boat, in 

which the quarter-master sailed ', I cannot be certain 

which of the boats, or whether the quarter-master and 

Doctor Claude went in the same boat. 

« General Wilkinson, at the Washington cantonment, 
before the arrival of Brigadier-general Hampton, gave 
the hospital surgeon unlimited power, to purchase what^ 
ever might be deemed necessary for the sick; and, at the 
same place, em])l()ycd additional assistance from the 
country practitioners." 

The whole medical staff of the army at Wasliington 
cantonment, immediately after I had resigned the com- 
mand, with a magnanimity which will, always, reflect 
honour on their independence and their justice, address- 
ed to me the following note. 



« Cantonment, Washington, Jan. 2Sd, 1810. 
« Sir, 

Address i< As you have resigned the command of the troops, to 

dicaroffi-' which we are attached, this letter cannot, by the most 

ceis to malignant, be ascribed to any improper motives ; and we 

Wilkin- ^^S you to be assured, that it proceeds from the most 

son, after disinterested source, and is produced by a temper of jus- 
he eave .. , 
up his tice only. 

corntnand, «« j,^ •ffering to you our best wislics, for your future 

to brig's.- 

dier-^ene- health and happiness, we sliould not do justice to our 
ralHamp. feelings, nor your conduct, if we omitted to acknowledge 
your incessant attentions, to the department of which we' 
are members ; or failed to give testimony to your solici- 
tude, your tenderness for, and fostering care of the sick ; 
for it was. Sir, to the supplies of extraordinai-y comforts 
sind necessaries, which you from time to time have order- 
ed, that we owe the lives of many men ,' and whatever 
may have been the misrepresentations, which have gone^ 
forth on the subject, we have no doubt, the consciousness 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. 431 

of your own good conduct, will afford you the richest re- chap. 
ward under heaven. ^^' 

« We have the honour to remain, 

" Your very obedient and humble servants, 
(Signed) 

« J. W. DANIEL, Hosp. Surg. U. S. Army, 
" D. CLAUDE, Surgeon Light Jrtillery. 
<* ALFRED THRUSTON, Surgeon 7th Inf. 
« WILLIAM UPSHAW, Surgeon 5th Inf. 
" SMITH CUTTER, Surgeon Wfle Corps. 
«.' LEWIS DUNHAM, Surgeon Dragoons. 
« A. G. OOOIM^WT, Surgeon's Mate 7th Inf 
«.- THOMAS LAWSON, Surgeon's Mate,'' 

These details have not, I am persuaded, gentlemen, 
been necessary to convince you of my wrongs; but they 
have been essential to assert my innocence, of the foul im- 
putations, aimed at my humanity by my accusers, who 
would not only degrade me, from the rank I hold, but 
would banish me the society of Christian man. 

I close the investigation of this point, by quoting the 
following general order, which proves, incontestibly, the 
feelings and the zeal, which gave direction to my con- 
duct in command. 

"GENERAL ORDERS. 

ii J\l*ew Orleans, September 2d, 1809. 

"Doctors Spencer and Claude will receive, receipt 

for, and make the necessary distribution of medicines 

and hospital stores, which are now landing from the 

North Star." 

From this order, gentlemen, two facts are apparent| 
viz.: tbat there was no military agent, to receive those 
medicines and stores: in consequence of which, I impos- 
ed the duty on Doctors Spencer and Claude; and, that 
the supply of medicine and hospital stores was not land- 
ed, at New Orleans, on the 2d of September 



43S MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Having thus, gentlemen, driven in the scouts and re~ 
^'" connoitering parties of the enemy, I shall endeavour, and 
I hope successfully, to repel his main attacks, made under 
tl»e cover of the contractors and military agents depart- 
ments, with as much facility. 

I am chargeil, « with not ordering the military agent 
at New Orleans, to make tiie necessary advances of mo- 
ney, to the brigade and regimental quarter-masters.'* 
This charge, gentlemen, necessarily involves a discus- 
sion of some length, which will be found interesting, not 
only, to the prisoner, before you, but to the military es- 
tablishment of our country. 

To ascertain my authority over the military agents, it 
will be necessary to examine the constitution of the office, 
the instructions, under which they act, and the practice 
which actually prevails. The act of tlie 16th of March, 
1802, which determined tlie military peace establish- 
Appoint- ment, in the 3d section, authorises •• the appointment of 
'"?'"^°^ three military agents, and such number of assistant mili- 
agents. tary agents, as the President shall deem expedient: not 
exceeding one to each military post; which assistants 
shall be taken from the line." And in the 17th section 
of the same act, it is ordained, that, "it shall be the duty 
of the military agents, designated by this act, to pur- 
chase, receive, and forward to their proper destination, 
all military stores, and other articles for the troops, in 
their respective departments J and all goods and annuities 
for the Indians, wliich they may be directed to purchase, 
or which sltall be ordered into their care, by the depart- 
ment of war. 

" Tiiey shall account with the department of w ar, an- 
nually, for all the public property, which may pass 
through their hands, and all the monies which they may 
expend, in dis( hai'gc of the duties of their offices, respec- 
tively; previous to their entering on the duties of their 
offices, they shall give bonds with sufficient sureties, in 
such sums as tlie President of the United States shall 
direct, for the faithfij discharge of the trust reposed in 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 433 

tliem, and shall take an oath, faithfully, to perform the chap. 
duties of their respective offices." ' 

Such heing the constitution of the department, it fol- 
lows, by fair deduction, and is warranted by usage, ante- 
rior to the accession, of the present secretary of the war 
department; that the three principal agents, were taken 
from the rank of citizens, and w ere held solely responsi- 
ble to the war departincnt, witiiout, even, an indication 
of their subordination to military rule: this being the 
foundation, the superstructure will bear me out in the 
assertion, that it was not intended, by the law, the mili- 
tary agents should be subject to military contronl, but 
they are undeniably autijorised, and justified, to check 
the disl)ursements, and of course, to shackle, or to defeat. The Inde- 

at their discretion, the operations of any officer, with P^"dence 

^ -^ ' of the mi- 

whom they may be associated. litary 

This is, indeed, putting «< the baby to beat the tf^ds^o 

NURSE," or to use a metaphor of the immortal Franklin, shackle 

it looks like <« tackling a house to the rear of a tufng^f^'a' 

WAGON, TO HELP IT UP THE HlLl." command- 

To place before you, gentlemen, in the most obvious ^^' 
light, the actual relation of the military agency and the 
war department, I shall submit to you, several letters 
and instructions, which have fallen into my hands by ac- 
cident, or have been procured from the secretary of war. 

« War Departmentf April 26th, 1808. 
« Sir, 

«I have received yours, of the 28tli ultimo, and re- 
quest you will give, all the aid in your power to the en- 
gineer, both as to men and materials. 

"The commanding officer will be directed, to furnish 
all the artificers, in their respective companies, to aid in 
the erection of the fortifications. 

*< You will not cojisidcryoui'self authorised, to pay the 
drafts of any assistant military agent, wiiicii shall not, in 
point of form, be conformable to the rules and regula- 
tions; no considc'/able sum ought to be expended, which 
is not authf>rised by this department. 
vox. IL SI 



43* MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP *< The expense for moving the detachment to Mobile., 

^'- was unreasonably extravagant, and ought not to have 

been sanctioned. 

The dis- "Fifty dollars, is the highest sum to be allowed, in 

acomman. ^"^ casc, not previously authorised, except in extraordi- 

der limit- nary instances. 

dolkrs^.'^ (Signed) " H. DEARBORN. 

'< Ahraham D. Abrahams Esq. 

« Military Agent, J\''ew Orleans," 

On the 12th of May, 1808, the military agent, at Ne\T 
Orleans, was prohibited drawing on the secretary of war 
for funds, and was informed, they would be deposited for 
him in the "Bank of Discount and Deposit," in New- 
Orleans; a copy of this letter, 1 am assured, cannot be 
found in the war office; yet, 1 shall prod-ucc proofs of its 
existence, from both the secretary of war, and the military 
agent; the following letter has direct reference to it, and 
to satisfy some exception of Mr. Abrahams, explains the 
causes of the arrangement. 

" fFar JDepartment;, Julij Sth, 1808. 
<< Sir, 

" Your letters, of the 30th May, 1st and 6th of June, 
have been received. 

<f The arrangement, made by my letter, of the 12th 
May, Avas in consequence of the desire of the secretary of 
the treasury, that, the public money in Bank, at New- 
Orleans, should be applied, as far as it was necessary, to 
the payment of expenditures on public account, at that 
place. No idea of impropriety in your conduct, was 
blended witii this arrangement. 
The Flag- "You will please to let Colonel Freeman have tlie flag 
he desires. 

" I am, very respectfully, 

" Your obed't. scrv't. 
(Signed) "H. DEARBORN. 

« Abraham D. Abrahams Esq. 

" Military Agent, ^exv Orleans." 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. 435 

CHAP. 

« War Department, Mg. 20th, 1808. ^'• 
« Sir, 

" Your letters, of the 20th and 27th of June, having 
been received in the absence of the secretary of war, were 
transmitted to him for instructions; I am now directed 
by liim to inform you, that a distinction is, at all times, 
to be observed, between the ordinary and usual expendi- 
tures, for common contingent purposes, and what relates 
to fortifications, mounting cannon, preparing ammuni- 
tion. Sec. : in relation to the latter objects, you are to 
comply, generally, with the necessary demands of the en- 
gineer, or commanding officer, at New Orleans. 

" For the present season, you will please to procure a The pur- 
reasonable supply of musquitoe nets for the troops ; but, ^us^qjitoe 
liereafler, they will be purchased by the purveyor of pub- nets au- 
lic supplies. ^^°"^^^' 

" A moderate expense for repairing the block iiouse, at 
Washington, Mississippi Territory, may be paid. 
'" I am, very respectfully. Sir, 
*< Your obed't. serv't. 
(Signed) « JOHN SMITH, C. €. 

« For the Secretary. 
'• Abraham D. Abrahams Esq. 

« Military Agent, .N'ew Orleans.'^* 



The only remark I shall, at present, make on this let- 
ter, is, that if it had been sent to the committee of Con- 
gress, of which the honourable Thomas Newton was 
chairman, it would have saved them many useless enqui- 
quiries, about musquitoe nets: which, it seems, were to 
be provided by the purveyor of public supplies, at Phila- 
delphia, and not the military agent, at New Orleans; Remarks 

"What then did I not hazard, in ordering them to be pro- »|ithespe- 

"^ cial order 

vided for the sick ? and, yet, how grossly have I been for pur- 

censured, for not supplying the wliolc army with them, <^h^s'"ff 

7 ri J o .' ' musquitoe 

in the face o^f a positive order, from the war department, nets. 



436 MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
XT. 



« War Department, Dec. IQth, 1808. 

"Abraham D. Abrahams Ksq,. 

« Military Agent, JVew Orleans. 

« Sip, 

*« You will please to take the earliest measures, for sc- 
curinj? quarters for about two thousand additional troops. 
After ascertaininji^, what number can be a« commodated 
in the public buildings, you will engage other buildings, 
sufficient for the remainder, on the best terms you can ; 
it will be advisable not to have it known, that you \v ant 
quarters for any number of troops, until you shall have 
secured as many as may be necessary ; and it will Le ex- 
pedient, tbat you give no intimation of the expected arri- 
val of additional troops, except two or three companies. 

"If barracks can be erected fur four or five hundred 
men, in the course of two months, without interfering 
with the progress of fortifications, I wish you would have 
them erected of wood. 

*«The fortifications ought to be completed with all 
possible despatch. 

« You will procure materials for bunks, benches, &c. 
&c. and fuel for the barracks : and quarters, you may 
hire or erect. 

« I have, tliis day, ordered ten thousand dollars to be 
sent you on account of the contingencies of the army, and 
a like sumforfortijications. 

"I am, &c. 
(Signed) « H. DEARBORN." 



In this letter we have the evidence, of the execution of 
the plan of furnishing funds by deposit, in preference to 
bills j ten thousand dollars being remitted for contingen- 
cies, and the same sum for fortifications. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 437 

CHAP. 

" War Department, Dec. "i^th, 1808. X' 
« Sir, v-^wwf 

« On account of the troops, it will be proper for you to 
procure and deliver, on the orders of the commanding of- 
ficer, such articles, as he may deem necessary for the 
public service. 

<' You will, at all timep, charge such articles, so deli- 
vered, to the proper head of expenditures; and to pre- 
vent any mistakes in your accounts, when the orders to 
you are not so explicit as to enable you to decide, under 
what head the article should be charged, you will re- 
quest the commanding officer to give you such informa- 
tion, as the case may require. You will advance no mo- 
ney except for articles actually received, or for services 
performed. The expenditures should be as economical, 
as the good of the service will permit. No articles will, 
I trust, be required of you, but such as the nature and 
the good of the service actually demand ', such as work- 
men, and materials for fortifications; for quarters, trans- 
portation and camp equipage-; tents and other articles for 
barracks or camp, will be sent from this quarter, to your 
care, as well as cannon and ammunition. 
" I am, &c. 
(Signed) *t H. DEARBORN. 

" Mraham D. Mrahams Esq. 

" Military Jigent, JV*ew Orleans.''* 



tt War Department, March Sth, 1809. 
« Sir, 

« Your letter of the 3d instant, inclosing a letter of ^he se- 
advice from Mr. Abrahams, with a draft in your favour cretary of 
for 1140 dollars, on account of his salary as military ses pay- 
agent, has come to hand. As Mr. Abrahams is going ment.of 
out of service, and has not rendered any accounts since hams bill 
the 16th December last, at which time a large balance ^^^ SH^O. 
appeared against him, it is considered expedient to sus- 
pend the payment of the draft, until it can be known, 



438 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, whether the amount be due; and as some time will pro- 
^'' bably elapse, before his accounts arc closed, I take the 
liberty of returning it, 

" And am very respectfully, Sir, 
« Your obedient servant, 
(Signed) « JOHN SMITH, C. C. 

« Acting Scc'ry of Jfar^ 
*• William Linnard Esq. 

« Military Agentf Philadelphia." 



" JVar Department, May 4th, 1809. 
•'< Sir, 

** Abraham D. Abrahams esq. military agent for the 
sonthern department, being solicitous to relinquish that 
office, the President of the United States has appointed 
yon to succeed him, and should the senate, at their next 
session, advise and consent to said appointment, you will 
be commissioned accordingly. 

<« Your office as military agent is considered as a sub- 
stitute for, what has generally been called, a deputy 
quarter-master general ; and your department includes 
all the military posts, witliin the the territory of Orleans, 
and in that part of the Mississippi territory, lying south 
of the 32d degree of North latitude, including all those 
on the Mobile and its waters. 

" Before yon enter on the duties of your agency, you 
will execute the inclosed bond, with two or more suffi- 
cient sureties, and will take and subscribe the oath of 
office, and the oath prescribed by the act, entitled, ' An 
act fixing the military peace establishment.' As soon as- 
the bond is duly executed, you will forward it, with the 
Biitrnde oaths, to this department. 

ami regi- t< You WILL CONSIDElt THE ASSISTANT MILITARY 

mental 

quaner- AGENTS, AND TUB Q,UARTER-MASTERS, W IIETHER BRI- 

mastcrs, qADE OB REGIMENTAL, AVITIIIN YOUR DEPARTMENT, 

lo^iTdi AS UNDER YOUR DIRECTION. Yon will furnish 

rection of them with funds, for which they will be accountable to 
the milita- ^,, .,, , .,. i i i 

ry agent, you. Ihcy Will correspond with, and make regular re-, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 439 

tunis to you, of all articles received by them, with pro- chap. 
per vouchers for ail deliveries and expenditures : they ^^• 
are not to make any purchases or expenditures, except- 
ing what shall be absolutely necessary, without 

YOUR PARTICULAR DIRECTION. 

" You will receive, herewith, a copy of the rules and 
articles of war, for your government, and of the regula- 
tions of this department, to which, as far as they regard 
your duties, and are not inconsistent with these instruc- 
tions, you will, in all respects, conform. 

" You will, with promptness, and in the most safe and 
economical manner, cause all military, medical and hos- 
pital stores, and all goods for Indians, which you may 
receive for transportation, to he forwarded to their re- 
spective destinations. 

•'•' You will procure and deliver, on the order of the 
commanding officer of your department, such articles as 
he may deem necessary for the public service : you will, 
at all times, chai'ge all articles so delivered, to the proper 
head of expenditures; and to prevent any mistakes in 
your accounts, when the orders to you are not so expli- 
cit, as to enable you to decide, under what head the ar- 
ticle should be charged, you will request the commanding 
officer, to give you such information, as the case may 
require. You will advance no money, except as before 
directed, or for articles actually received, or for services 
performed. The expenditures should be as economical,- 
as the good of ike service will permit : no articles, it is 
presumed, will be required of you, but such as the nature 
and the good of the service actually demand: should it hap- 
pen, however, at any time, that demands are made upon 
you to a large amount, the propriety of complying a coin- 

V> I TH WHICH YOU MAY DOUBT, AND WHERE DELAY MAY pl'^nce 

with re- 
NOT, IN YOUR JUDGMENT, PROVE INJURIOUS TO THE quisitions, 

PLI5HC SERVICE, yOU ai'C to CONSULT THIS DT.PART- ^'^ ^'^^ '''S- 

crstion of 
.ME N'T. the agent. 

'< If Mr. Coxe, the purveyor of public supplies, shall 

loqueijt you to purchase any articles, which may be pro- 

! iind in your vicinity, at less expense than at Philadel- 



440 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, phia, yon will please to make such purchase, he furnish- 
^* ing you with money. 

" In addition to the duties of military agent, you will 
procure such materials, and hire such labourers and me- 
chanics, as may be required by the engineer, for erect- 
ing, completing, and repairing, such works, as have, or 
may be ordered for the defence, and protection, of New 
Orleans and its vicinity. 

« Your accounts for expenditures, under this head, 
you will keep in conformity of the inclosed instructions, 
from the accountant of this department. 

<< You will be allowed one clerk for your oflice, of mi- 
litary agent, at the rate of seven hundred and fifty dol- 
lars per annum. 

" For your services as agent for fortifications, you 
will receive a reasonable commission, on the monies ne- 
cessarily expended, in the performance of its duties. 

« You will, from time to time, seasonably transmit to 
this department, estimates of the monies, that may be 
required, to meet the expenditures in your agencies ^ on 
the receipt of which, the requisite funds will be ordered 
to your credit, in the office of discount and deposit 
AT New Orleans. 

*< As Mr. Abrahams is anxious to leave New Orleans, 
you will, should you accept of the militai-y agency for the 
southern department, please to proceed to that place, 
without delay ; and there take upon yourself the duties 
of your appointment. He is instructed, by the inclosed 
letter, to deliver to you all the public papers, documents, 
and property in bis possession; and to pay over to you 
the balance of public monies, remaining in his hands^ 
which you will please to receive, giving him your dupli- 
cate receipts for the same. 

<' I am respectfully. Sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 
(Signed) ■ « W. EUSTIS. 

« Andrew M*Cnlloch Esq^ 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 441 



I 



CHAPTER XII. 



Reflections on the had policy of rendering the miliiary agent, 

independent of a commanding general T/ie principles 

of military institutions considered. — Orders issued by the 
ministei'S at a distance, destructive of the responsibility of 
the general, and tend often to defeat an enterprise. — Ex- 
ample of the Aulic Council. — Instructions to Mr. Mccul- 
loch, the military agent, withheld from General Wilkin- 
son. — Reflections on the inconsistency of' subjecting mili- 
tary officers to the directions of a civilian. — The disgusting 
situation of a commander under such restrictions. — The 
agent* s power defned. — Mr. Mrahams's letter, of 17 tk 
July, 1809, complaining that he had neither money, nor 
power to draw. — Instructions to the military agent, as 
they tend to cramp the powers of the commander, criti- 
cally considered. — Declaration of the Secretary of War, 
that the military agent was subject to the orders of Gene- 
ral Wilkinson. — ^ paragraph added to the agenfs in- 
structio7is, to give a colouring to that declaration. — Gene- 
ral Wilkinson acquits the Secretary of War, of partici- 
pating in the alteration of M'Culloch's instnictiojis.'— 
Secretary of Wai-^s letters, of the 27th .iprit, 22rf June, 
and 10th August, 1809. — Secretary of War, upon the ac- 
coiintanVs representation, prohibits purchases of fowls, 
eggs, and other comforts for the sick. — On the 4th Jipnl, 
1810, Secretary of War declares, that the agent was, at 
all times, subject to General Wilkinson's orders. — Secre- 
tary of War's letter of the 8th Sept. referred to, in expla- 
nation of his instructions to the military agent. — Reflections 
on that letter. — Secretary of War's letters of the ±2.th and 
30th of Jiugibst.'-^Military agent peremptorily refuses Ge- 

VOL. II. 3 K 



CHAP. 
XII. 



4*S MEMOIRS BY 

neral Wilkinson^s order for 500 dollars, justifying his 
disobedience by official instructions. — fftlliam Simmons^s 
deposition examined. — Captain M^Pherson, Captain Ciif- 
ler, and Doctor Baer's depositions quoted. — Lieutenant 
epic's certificate. — General Wilkinson charges accountant 
Simmons with per jury.^— -Simmons* s evidence contrasted 
with that of other witnesses.- — Comments on the Secre- 
tary of War's letter, of the 16th April, 1810. — Captain 
Pike's appointment, as acting military agent. — Lieu- 
tenant Chrystie appointed assistant. — General Wilkinson 
compelled by duty to the public, to authorise the military 
agent to draw.-^-His motives. — His scruples about giv- 
ing similar authonty, to officers a])2)ointed by himself. — 
Mr. M'Culloch ordered to look to the Bank of Discount 
and Deposit for funds, though none had been deposited. 
- — General Wilkinson driven to the necessity of raising 
between two and three thousand dollars, on notes taken 
in payment for public horses sold. — Borrows money for the 
accommodation of the sick. — Transport sufficient, at the 
time of the troops leaving the neighbourhood of JVew Or- 
leans, and supplies of every kind abundant.' — Reflectioyis 
on the Secretary of War's peremptory orders for the move- 
ment to J^atchc'Xi.'-'The position of Terre aux Boe.nfs, its 
salubnty, and aptitude for defence ofJ\few Orleans. — Se- 
cretary of War's letter to Doctor Daniel, partially sus- 
pending the prohibitory order, as to purchases for the 
sick. — Three hundred deaths, and some desertions, take 
place in ascemling the Mississippi, from Terre aux Bcevfs 
to JS^atchez: 

CHAP. Having placed before you, gentlemen, the law, and 

^^^- such orders as I have been able to procure, in relation to 
the military agcnx^y, I shall proceed to shew, that as the 
law intended, so the orders justified, the agent's inde- 
pendence of military controulj but, before I apply these, 
and my other proofs, I beg to submit to you, a few ge- 
neral reflections, which may contribute to their illustra- 
tion. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 443 

The mechanism of military institutions, although ex- chap. 
tremely complex, is susceptible of the most complete or- ^"' 
ganization, in all its parts. We find in the square root, Rgsponsi- 
the most natural, and convenient proportions, for tlie lity and 
formation of military bodies ; and every movement, of ^Trrlnt ° 
which the animated mass is susceptive, is founded onthede- 
geometrical principles. To preserve order and unifor- fafour 
mity, in the operations of such a machine, unceasing vi- the execu- 
gilance, extreme patience, exquisite skill, and masterly military 
conduct are requisite: and these are the fruits of obser- enter- 

DTISCS 

vation and experience. The dissolution of a single link should be 

in the chain, will infallibly derange the whole system. ^°^^^^ *"^ 

co-cxtcn= 
From the ranks to the chief, from the commander to the sive. 

lowest grade, the responsibility and mutual dependence 
of cacii, is marked with precison; the chief, who is en- 
1 rusted with the whole, to be responsible for the trust, 
must necessarily command the whole, and the blind obe- 
dience of his subordinates is implied: dissolve this rela- 
tion, and the bonds of subordination are destroyed: trust 
and authority, to he obligatory and effectual, must be 
correspondent, and to accomplish the end, the means 
must be commensurate. 

These general propositions are incontrovertible, and Orders is- 
w ill receive the assent of every military man. Recurring, dlsttnce^ 
then, to the principles of service, which I have before at- from the 
tempted briefly to illustrate, by reference to the opinion, ^'^j"® , _ 
of the most distinguished statesmen and commanders, stroy re- 
permit me, gentlemen, to put the following plain q'lfs- ^j'"^^^ '^^ 
tion to your consideration: Can a military commander, nerai, and 
be responsible for the events of a campaign, whose judg- ^^ defeat 

ment is controuled, by a minister, at more than a thou- *he best 

concerted 
sand miles distance, and whose authority may be resist- enter- 
ed, by the very person, on whose agency all his mpve- P"ses. 
ments depend? We arc all aware of the effects of the 
Aulic Council, on the Austrian armies, in the commence- 
ment of the French revolution : but, without the aid of 
exemplification, I think, gentlemen, you will answer me 
in the negative. Hence, it inevitably results, that when- 
ever a minister, intermeddles with the arrangements of 



14^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, a military commander, by undertaking to regulate his 
^'^ conduct in detail, or by entering into correspondence, with 
his subordinates, and authorising them to oppose their dis- 
cretion to his will, PRINCIPLE IS INNOVATED, THE RULES 
OF SERVICE ARE DISLOCATED, THE GeNERAl's NECES- 
SARY AUTHORITY IS IMPAIRED, AND HIS UTILITY DE- 
STROYED: andjtiien, the minister transfers responsibility, 
from the commandor's shoulders to his own, and makes 
himself answerable, to the government, for every conse- 
quence which may ensue. 

I deemed this brief analysis of tjje essential connexion, 
between power and responsibility, in military operations, 
necessary to the explanations, I shall now proceed to 
offer. 

And here, I can safely rest my exculpation, on the in- 
structions of the secretary of war, of the 4th of May, 
1809, to the military agent M'CuUoch. Let us analyse 
them. 
No com- It is necessary, gentlemen, always to bear in mind, that 
t?OTofM ^'^'^ secretary of war, did not impart a word of these in- 
M'Cul- structions, or of Mr. M<Culloch's functions, to me; and 
stmc! '"' t'»e General was left to find them out if he could ; but, Mr. 
tions, M*Culloch is sent out to the southern department, not to 
General ^^^ army, uot to the disposition of the General, but, un- 
Wilkin- tier specific instructions, to proceed to New Orleans, and 
there take on himself the duties of his appointment; and, 
although, without military rank or commission, or refe- 
rence to the General, he is authorised to consider « the 

Eeflec Q,UARTER-MASrERS, WHETHER BRIGADE OR REGIMENT- 

tions, on ^^j^^ UNDER HIS DIRECTION;" but tliese ofliccrs belong to 
regiment- the Staff of their distinct corps; their appropriate duties 
al quarter- ^Q^gj^g their whole attention, to the interior police of 

niasicTS, ' 

under the their respective regiments or brigades, and to the daily 

direction ,,p{>pipt and issue, of quarter-masters stores and provi- 
of a mill- I ' 1 r 

tary sions to the troops ; on the regular discharge of these 

agent. functions, the acconnnodation, comfort, health, and disci- 
pline of the troops, essentially depend; take these officers 
away from tliese duties, place them at the disposal of the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 445 

military agent, and you disorganise the service at the chap. 

As well might the adjutants, and hrigade inspectors, 
and aides-de-camp, be taken from tlieir legitimate duties, 
and placed under the military agent ; the hrigade quar- 
ter-masters belong to brigades, the regimental to regi- 
ments ; and both are subject to the orders, of their imme- 
diate commanding officers; here the secretary of war ab- 
solves the General, and the commanding officers of regi- 
ments, from responsibility ; and makes himself answera- 
ble for whatever might happen ; since, it is impossible, a 
military officer should be held responsible, for a trust at- 
tached to his commission, when the means of execution 
are withheld or taken from him. 

But, in the same paragraph, the military agent is in- 
structed, "fo furnish the biigade and regimental quarter' 
masters, with funds, and to hold them accountable;^^ do we 
find, even, the slightest allusion to the commanding offi- 
cer, in this interesting branch of these instructions? Cer- 
tainly not! then, the military agent is to exercise his 
discretion, as to the amount he is to furnish, and the time 
and occasion of furnishing, and, yet, I am charged with 
neglect of duty, for not ordering him to do that, which is 
made his essential duty, by his instructions of the 4th of 
May; but liaving exercised his discretion, in this parti- 
cular, he is to regulate all the purchases, and expendi- 
tures of the officers, put under him, according to his 
judgment, and is forbid making any further advance of 
money, <•' hut for articles actually received, or services per- 
formed;^' which, certainly, is an important extension of 
his discretion ; he is, indeed, ordered " to procure and de- 
liver such articles, as the commanding officer may deem 
necessary, for the public service," yet, he is told, " it is 
presumed, no articles will he required of him, hut such as 
the nature and good of the service, actually demand;" and 
who is to be the judge in such case ? The General ? No ! but 
the military agent, for, in the next member of the same 
paragraph, he is directed « to refuse any demand, he may p(^ver to 
consider large, until he consults the war department. refuse.any 



446 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Gentlpmen, I appeal to your sense of duty as soldiers, to 
^'*' your feelings as officers, and your understanding as men ! 
demand would you hazard an application to an i)iferior, when 
he may you knew, it was in his power to reject it, and thus ex- 
laree ^"^ V^^^ yourselves to the derision of your subordinates, 
till he and the prostration, of tliat authority, which is indispen- 
the war* sablc, even, in the eyes of the common soldiery, to salu- 
depart- fary command ? After all, the military agent, is left as 
powerless as the commanding officer J he is sent, twelve 
hundred miles, to disburse the expenses of an army, with- 
out a cent in hand, and by his instructions, after he 
Agent to reaches the point of his destination, ** he is to transmit 
esUmTtes estimates, to the war office, of the monies which may be re- 
previous- quired, to meet the expenditures of his department, on the 
obtaining rcc^ipt of which, fiiuds are to be ordered, to his credit, iu the 
funds. office of Discount and Deposit, at JYew Orleans;^' hut, iu 
the mean time, how are the daily exigencies to be pro- 
vided for ? or how is it possible to make estimates, to 
meet the thousand unforeseen contingencies, to which 
militai'y operations are always subject? the solution re- 
quires, a more able head than mine. 

The following letter, from Mr. Abrahams, the military 
agent, after he had declined acting, will best explain the 
situation of the agency, as to funds, and the means of 
procuring them. 



" Militarij JgenVs Office, JVew Orleans, 
" 17th July, 1809. 

" Dear Sir, 

'< I have received your letter by Lieutenant Gibson, and 
return you my particular thanks for the accommodation ; 
Captain Swan left this for the Atlantic states, on Satur- 
day last, under the impression you would not appoint 
him, but Captain Humphreys, who has also acted as my 
assistant agent, is careful and correct, and in whom I 
have the highest confidence; he will accept the appoint- 
ment, shoidd you think proper to appoint him. I will 
make every arrangement in my power, for the benefit of 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 4^,7 

the service. Be pleased to state, in his letter of appoint- chap, 
raent, that he is authorised to draw on the department of ^^^' 
war, for such sums as the duty may require, as 1 have 
not, Sir, one cent in hand, nor is it in my power to draw 
for the smallest amount, without stating in the letter of 
advice, the exact amount of each object to which it is to 
be applied. 

« I have the honour to be, 

" With high consideration, 
" Your obed't. serv't. 
(Signed) « A. D. ABRAHAMS. 

« His Excellency General James Wilkinson." 



Let the whole tenor of these instructions, be analysed, Reflec- 
in letter and in spirit, from first to last, by any man of j^|°" j^^""* 
candour and discernment^ and passing over their incon- instmc- 
sistencies, ray judgment deceives me, if the details into ^j^g j^j^j. 
which they run, do not in effect supercede the trust of the tary 
commanding officer, and confer it upon the military ^^^" ^" 
agent. In the recent case of M*Culloch, we perceive an 
extensive jurisdiction assigned to him. The regimental 
and brigade quarter-masters, are placed under his orders; 
he is to advance funds to them at his discretion ; he is to 
receive, and distribute, the public property ,• he is to 
check all purchases, and expenditures, according to his 
discretion j he is to furnish articles, which may be re- 
quired by the commanding officer, or he may let it alone, 
until he consults the war department; at the same time, 
strange inconsistency! he is to furnish materials, labou- 
rers, and mechanics, to the requisition of the engineer, 
without limitation; he a Frenchman, too, from St. Do- 
mingo, and, finally, he is to take post in New Orleans. 

I think this is a fair synopsis of these instructions, and 
it will be admitted, they embrace the most important at- 
tributes of military command; yet, gentlemen, you will 
not perceive a single word, in reference to the informa- 
tion, authority, experience, or judgment of the officer. 



448 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, who had been selected for the command, by the executive 
^^^' of our country. 

Notwithstanding these facts, it has been deemed neces- 
sary, in support of the charges brought against me, to 
assert, that « the military agent was always sub- 
ject TO MY' ORDERS,'* and that William Simmons, the 
accountant of the war department, should pledge his oatli 
in verification of this assertion, is matter of no concern 
to me, nor can it be a matter of wonder to you, gentle- 
men, who have witnessed with what good will, he can 
swear, to suit his own malevolence; but, I confess, it has 
given me unfeigned pain, to discover in the proceedings 
of a committee of Congress, in 1810, of which Thomas 
Newton was chairman, on the subject of the mortality 
among the troops, under my command, a letter from the 
honourable the secretary of war, dated tlie 4th of April, 
1810; in which, to satisfy certain complaints, made of a 
want of hospital stores and medicines, for the troops, on 
the Mississippi; he enumerates the sums expended there, 
for the use of the sirk, under my orders in 1809; and 
Secretary then observes, « when to this it is added, that the mi- 

of war de- j^j^^jj^Y AGENT, WAS AT ALL TIMES SUBJECT TO THE 

dares that 

the milita- ORDER OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER, (meaning mys*'lf) 

ry agent j^^^^ BOUND TO COMPLY WITH HIS REQUISITIONS, FOR 

was sub- 

ject,to the ALL ARTICLES NECESSARY, IN HIS OPINION, FOR THE 

orders of 

o„ „„i HEALTH, AND ACCOMMODATION, OF THE TROOPS, THE 

Wilkin- CAUSES OF ANY ALLEGED DEFICIENCIES, ARE INEXPLI- 

^°"' CABLE TO THIS DEPARTMENT." And I nuist ackn(»w- 

ledgc, this pain was sensibly increased, when, I perceiv- 
ed, the following paragra]»h, in the copy of the secreta- 
ry's instructions, to the military agent, M'Culloch, fur- 
nished by him to the same committee, and published by 
order of the House of Representatives. 

Additjon- (^ Should you accept of the military agency for the 

lions to southern department, you will please to proceed to New 

^l"- . Orleans, without delay, and there take upon yourself the 

loch duties of your appointment. Major Pike, the acting mili- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 449 

tary agent, is authorisedf by the inclosed letter , to ddixier chap. 

Knowing that this paragraph, did not belong to the The addi^ 
original instructions of M'C'ulloch, becanse I had nomi- s'tiucti'on 
natcd Major Pike, on the IStli of Scptentljer, four months devised, 
after M'CulIoch's appointment, and being unable to ac- p^li-pose of 
count for it in any other way, I naturally and neressa- imposing 
j'ily coupled it with the extract of tlie letter, of the 4th of "^^'J^jt. 
April, just quoted ; with which it corresponded so exact- tee, the 
ly, that I could but form the conclusion, it had been de- |he mili- 
vised, by some one, to impose a belief on the committee, t^ry agent 
tliat lU) suspension of the functions of the military agcn- ways sub- 

cy, had occurred during my command: for if the agent J^*^*^ '^^ ™y 

ordcrSfl 
had been always subject to my command, and no suspen- 
sion of his functions had taken place, then, indeed, I stood 
convicted of a neglect of duty. 

These statements were committed, und<?r circurnstances 
and in a manner, which put their refutation beyond my 
reach ; they had been submitted to a committee of Con- 
gress, and had gone forth to the world, under the autho- 
rity of the House of Representatives ; and if they had 
effected my ruin, which it is well known, was zealously 
sought, at tliat time, tlie detection, now, would have 
availed me little. On a care fid examination, however, of 
the whole report of the committee, and particularly of the 
secretary's letter to tiicm, of tl»e 16th of April, it is due 
to candour and to justice, that 1 should acquit i»im of any 
participation, in this distortion of M*Culloch's instruc- 
structions; but I owe it, also, to my owiTlionour, to deny 
the fairness of his statement, of the 4th of April, made 
to the same committee, and I tliank Almighty God, it is 
in my power to sustain this exception; — and here let me 
note, that the interpolation in the instructions, could not 
have arisen from copying those of Captain Swan, instead 
of those to M^CulIocli, because it will be found, on com- 
parion, that the instructions of Swan, contain several 
paragraphs, not to be found in the copy sent to tlie com- 
mittee: the fraud, therefore, must have beea designed^ 
TOL. IL 3 L 



450 



MEMOIUS BY 



CHAP. 
XII. 

The secre- 
tary of war 
transmits 
a memo- 
randum of 
articles, 
purchased 
under the 
orders of 
Colonel 
Parker, 
deemed 
extrava- 
gant. 



Ir> conse- 
quence 
of Sim- 
mons's re- 
presentaf 
tion, the 
secretary 
of war 
prohibits 
the agent 
from pur- 
chasing 
eggs, 
fowls, 8;c. 
for the 
sick. 



and to ascertain the fact, you need only compare the one 
with the other. 

It has been seen, in tlie secretary's letter to me, of the 
2rth of April, that he warns me of a disposition, to scru- 
tinise « every item of expenditure," and in his letter, of 
the 22d of June, at the instance of Mr. Simmons, he 
sends me a memorandum, of certain necessarij expenses 
incurred, in New Orleans, under the orders of Colonel 
Parker, before my arrival there, which are deemed too 
extravagant, and I am called on to interpose my autho- 
rity, to prevent the continuance or repetition of them. 

My correspondence will prove, that by my early re- 
moval of the troops, from New Orleans, I anticipated 
these injunctions of the secretary, and curtailed the 
expenses of the troops, several thousand dollars per 
month, in the articles of house rent and fuel only; but I 
could not, so far, respect the economical suggestions of 
the accountant, as to withhold from the expiring soldier, 
all the comfort in my power to bestow; I, therefore, con- 
tinued on the credit of my own authority, and the confi- 
dence of a few friends, in New Orleans, (for the office of 
the military agency was shut up, from the middle of July 
to the middle of September,) to supply the defects of the 
war department, by the purchase of medicines, stores, 
comforts, and necessaries, for the use of the sick, on the 
requisition of tlie surgeons. And w liat was the effect ? — 
Mr. Simmons, ever at war witli our pcacefid army, and 
regardless of the sick or the healthy, presents another 
memorandum to the secretary of war. of the purchase of 
eggs, fowls, foot-mats, porter, and wines, provided for 
tlie sick of the army, which he deemed objectionable ; in 
consequence of which, the secretary, on the 10th of Au- 
gust, 1809, witliout my knowledge or privity, addressed 
letters to the military agent, Andrew M'Cidloch, at New 
Orleans, and to the senior surgeon Doctor Oliver H. 
Spencer, acting under my orders, in which lie perempto- 
rily forbids the agent, to purchase any of the above arti- 
cles, w hich might be required for the sick, and condemns 
the application, which had been previously luadc of them, 



GENERAL WILKINSON, 4,51 

to the sick, by the surgeon. The letters are conceived chap. 
in the followins: laconic terms. ^^'• 



« War Department, August lOfA, 1809. 
*« Sir, 

« YOU WILL NOT CONSIDER YOURSELF AU- 
THORISED, IN COMPLYING WITH ANY RE- 
QUISITIONS, FOR FOWLS, EGGS, FOOT-MATS, 
PORTER, AND FOR WINES, WHICH COST AT 
THE RATE OF FOUR AND FIVE DOLLARS PER 
GALLON. 

« I am respectfully. Sir, 

« Your obedient servant, 
(Sigaed) « Wm. EUSTIS, 

«< Secretary of JVar» 
<•' Andrew M'Culloch Esq. 
<« Military Agent." 



<i War Department, August iOth, 1809. 
*« Sir, 

« THE INCLOSED LIST OF ARTICLES, PUR= 
CHASED BY THE MILITARY AGENT, AT NEW 
ORLEANS, FOR THE HOSPITAL, ON YOUR RE- 
QUISITION, IS FORWARDED FOR THE PUR- 
POSE OF EXHIBITING TO YOU, THE EX- 
TRAVAGANT CHARGER, MADE FOR THEM, 
AGAINST THE PUBLIC 5 FOWLS, EGGS, FOOT- 
MATS, PORTER, AND WINES, AT THE RATE 
OF FOUR AND FIVE DOLLARS PER GALLON, 
OUGHT NOT TO HAVE BEEN REQUIRED, AND 
IN FUTURE WILL BE CONSIDERED, INAD- 
MISSIBLE CHARGES AGAINST THE DEPART- 
MENT. 

« I am respectfully, Sir, 

<« Your obedient servant, 
(Signed) " W. EUSTIS, 

« Secretary of Wan 
« Doctor Oliver H. Spencer, Surgeon." 



«}<5S MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
Xll. 



Item of a r ticks f with their price s^ which appeared objec- 
tionablef in the account of the Military Jgent at J^erv 
. Orleans 9 transmitted by the secretai^y nfwar. 

May.— 16 dozen fowls, S7 50 per dozen !S120 75 

44 do. eggs, 3 1 1 cts. per do. - 13 75 

June, — 2 do, fowls - - 15 

4 foot mats, S3 50 each - - 14 

2 dozen Port wijic, S12 per dozen 24 

3 do. porter. Si 50 per do. - 13 50 

5 gallons Madeira \Ylne, S5 per gallon 25 

11 dozen fowls, $7 50 per dozen 82 10 

66 do. eggs, 31| rts. per do. - 20 62| 

July. — 9 do. porter, S5 per do. - 45 

14 do. fowls, S7 per do. - - 98 
60 do. eggs, 3r§ per do. - 22 50 

The secre- Thus the secretary of war, at the suggestion of the ac- 

taryof war c^unta,,} EXPLICITLY PORBIDS THE MILITARY AGENT, 

forbids ' 

the mill- TO OBEY MY REQUISITIONS, FOR COMFORTS OR NECESS 1- 

toTbev^"* RiES FOR THE SICK; and to Diy immediate subordinate. 
General Doctor Spencer, he censures anterior purchases, which 
son. "^ ha(J hecn made under my orders, and, yet, on the 4th of 
April, 1810, eight months only after this interdiction, the 
committee of Congi'ess are informed, by this self same mi- 
nister, that " THE MILITARY AGENT, WAS AT ALL TIMES 
SUBJECT TO MY ORDERS, AND BOUND TO COMPLY WITH 
MY REQUISITIONS, FOR ALL ARTICLES NECESSARY, IN 
MY OPINION, FOR THE HEALTH AND ACCOMMODATION 
OF THE TROOPS." 

I forbear to pursue this investigation, because I re- 
spect the dignity of office, and will not offend, where it 
may be avoided, compatibly with my own honour; but, 
where that is invaded, the justice of tliis court, and of the 
executive magistrate of this nation, will, I trust, w-arrant 
my defence. I shall, IJierefore, gentlemen, barely invoke 
your attention, to those letters of the secretary, of the 
10th of August, 1809, to the military agent, and the 4th 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 453 

of April, 1810, to the committee of Congress; and I am chap, 
sure you will not deny the fairness of my statement. ^'^• 

But, it may Le urged, that this interdiction of the secre- ^j^^ ^ 
tary, was partial, and limited to a few specific articles, taiy of 
and that in all other relations to the military agent, my l^rpr^i"" 
authority over him remained unimpaired. It would be tion, of in- 
in vain, to refer such cavillers, to the plain letter of Mr. toXemiU- 
M'Culloch's instructions : nothing short of the secreta- tarj agent, 
ry's own interpretation, of his own act, and demonstra- from his 
tion drawn from his own pen, of his own sense of ow" letter. 
those instructions, can strike my accusers dumb ; and 
therefore they shall have it, in the following letter. 

« War Department, Sept. 8th, 1809. 
« Sir, 

« YOU WILL PLEASE TO GIVE EVERY NE- 
CESSARY AID, WHICH YOUR OFFICE CAN AF- 
FORD, TO THE MOVEMENT OF THE TROOPS 
UP THE MISSISSIPPI, AND TO THEIR EN- 
CAMPMENT AND COMFORT, AFTER THEY 
ARRIVE AT THEIR STATIONS ; AND WILL AC- 
CORDINGLY INSTRUCT THE QUARTER MAS- 
TERS, OR ASSISTANT MILITARY AGENTS, TO 
WHOM THE IMMEDIATE CARE OF THE BU- 
SINESS MAY BE ASSIGNED. 

(Signed) « JOHN SMITH, 

« For tlie Secretarij of War, 
« The Military Jigent, J\''ew Orleans." 

Now, it must be acknowledged, that this order, to the Reflec- 
military agent, was necessary, or that it was not neces- *j^°"^ °? 
sary; and it will be conceded, that if " the military agent contained 
was, at all times, subject to the orders oj the commanding ]"qI\^J^'^^' 
officer," this interposition of the secretarial authority, at letter, 
so unseasonable a period, could not have boon necessary. 
From these premises, the deduction is infallible, that the 
necessity for this intervention of the secretary, of the 8th 
of September, did exist, and that he was sensible of it ; 
not only to revoke the prohibition of the 10th of August, 



454 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, but to qualify the tenor of those instructions, which ren~ 

^"' dered the military agent independent of tlie General, and 

s r tar responsible to the secretary of war alone. This inter- 

of war's prctation is, further, supported by his letters to me, of 

General" ^he 12th and the 30th of August; in the former he ob- 

wiikin- serves, — *« In the hospital department, charges 

son, of the 

12th and HAVE BEEN MADE, EQ,UALLY UNPRECEDENTED IN ANY 

30th of SERVICE, WITH WHICH I HAVE BEEN ACQUAINTED, AND 

EXTRAVAGANT," and in the last, he informe me, « the 

MILITARY AGENT HAS INSTRUCTIONS, AND WILL DE- 
TRAY ALL NEfCESs.iRY EXPENSES." If the agent had 
been under my orders, this was unnecessary; but, even, 
in this order, of the 8th of September, the military agent 
is addressed as the chief, and without reference to 
THE commanding OFFICER, he is authorised *' to exer- 
cise Jiis discretion, in respect to the movement of the troops 
up the river, their encampment and comfort; and is ac- 
cordingly directed to aid the movement, and instruct the 
quarter-masters and assistant military agents, to whom the 
immediate care of the business may be assigned." 

It seems extraordinary, that a reform so salutary, and 
of such extent and importance, should have been trans- 
mitted to the military agent, and not to the oflScer in 
command ; yet, it is a fact, that I received no intimation 
of it, until November, after the troops had reached the 
ground of their cantonment, and then from the brigade 
quarter-master. Lieutenant Jessup, who had been advised 
of it from New Orleans, by the military agent pro tern. 

To oppose these stubborn facts, the accountant Sim- 
mons, has been brought before tlie court, again, again, and 
again, to support, by his oath, the unfounded assertion, 
that " THE military agent avas always subject to 
MY orders ;" and to give countenance to his oaths, after 
two month's attendance on this court, he, towards the 
close of this enquiry, brings forward another order, of 
the secretary of war, to Abraham D. Abrahams, of No- 
vember 6th, 1806, which was issued on the spur of the 
occasion, to meet the exigencies, of the expected conflict, 
with the Spaniards on the Sabine, and the sinister pro- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 455 

ject of Aaron Burr; and he endeavours to prop this or- chap. 
dor, by the production of a volume of old settlements, ^^'• 
with the military agent, to exhibit the extraordinary ex- 
penditures, incurred under my orders at New Orleans, 
during the awful period of Burr's conspiracy. But, gen- 
tlemen, can the orders of 1806, and the expenditures of 
1807, affect the orders of 1808 and 1809? or does a mi- 
litary officer, regulate his conduct by the anterior or the 
posterior order ? Such shifts and subterfuges, will not 
avail against the broad truths, which are demonstrated 
by documents, drawn from the most correct sources of 
authority, the secretary of war, and the military agent 
themselves. Colonel Cushing's letter will shew, what 
\vas the practice in 1808 ; and the orders and instruc- 
tions of the secretaries of war, to the military agents 
at New Orleans, will best explain their duties and obli- 
gations in 1809. If we test the conduct of the military 
agent, after the troops reached Terre aux Boeufs, by the 

testimony of Captain Gibson, it will be found, that he Military 

ascent pe- 
PEREMPTORILY REJECTED MY ORDER, FOR FIVE HUN- r^mptori- 

DRED DOIiARS, ALLEGING HIS INSTRUCTIONS, IN JUS- 'X rejects 

TiFicATioN OF HIS DISOBEDIENCE. It is demonstrated, wilkin- 
by tills fact, that no assistant military agent, or quarter- so^'s or- 
master, could receive a cent in advance, under my autho- ^5500. 
rity, during the administration of Mr. Abrahams ; and 
by Mr. M^CuUoch's instructions, it appears that he was 
ordered, to make advances on his own diseretion, and to di- 
rect all purchases and expenditures, without consultljig me. 
Mr. Abrahams, the military agent, himself, bears tes- 
timony to the incongruity of his instructions, as will be 
seen in the following extract of his letter to me, bearing 
date 22d of May, 1809. 

« It appears to me, impracticable to comply with the in- 
structions, addressed to the military agent, under date of the 
15th March, 1809. It is not. Sir, in my power, to antici- 
pate the various calls, and the amount of such drafts as may 
he, drawn on mCj at a very short noticef by tJie assistant 



436 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, agents in my district; also other expenditures, as attend 
^"" ance on courts martial, transportation, ^c. «^'C.** 

I inclosed the preceding to the secretary of war, in one 

of my letters, of the 29th of May, 1809, read in evidence, 

in wliich I observe, <« the inclosed, from the military 

agent, will shew the embarrassment produced by his 

^ orders, it appears impossible for a man to say, specificat- 

ly, for what he druws money, before he has made his 

piin bases, it looks like putting the cart before the horse; 

whatever carries with it the appearance of distrust, tends 

rather to produce, than prevent, abuses, and no rcpdations 

however strict, can remedy the deject oj integrilij ; for, "while 

there he two rogues in the world, if the purchasing agent be 

one, he will find out the other." 

William In this place I, must, beg leave to examine, particular- 

^""■, 1 ly» that portion of AVilliam Simmons's deposition, which 

monssde- •" i ^ 

position applies to the specification under consideration, and to 
examined. j.(>j,jj.j. g^jf justice, I must, avail myself of the privilege, 
secured to a prisoner, put on trial for his life, to animad- 
vert, freely, on the character and deportment of this wit- 
ness. 

Mr. Simmons was found, here, in waiting for the 
court, before it was formed; and has been a faithful at- 
tendajit; he appeared in the character of a witness, but it 
is well known, to this whole village, what were his avo- 

Vaiiety cationS; HE DUBBED HIMSELF, PAYMASTER TO THE 

"evissum' COURT, AND THE WITNESSES; boastcd of his moueij and 
e J by his power to do me harm, and devoted every leisure moment, 
dl^ulglhiifrom the gambling table, to th4i villif cation of my character, 
sitting of 'fo illustrate the last point, gentlemen, I will beg leave 
to quote the evidence of Captains M'Pherson, and Cut- 
ler, and Doctor Jacob Baer, with the certificate of Lieu- 
tenant Lc Roy Opie. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 457 



Extract from Captain M^PIier soil's'* deposition. 



CHAP 
XII. 



" 1st Question.^ — Have you lieai'd Mr. Simmons, of the Captain 

. .M'Flier- 

war department, speak injcniously, and witli lioslility, ofg^j^.j. ,^1^, 
General Wilkinson, and, if so, will you be pleased to position 
state time, place and particulars ? ^^° ^'^ ' 

•< Answer. — I have. On the night of the 6th of last 
month, Mr. Simmons joined me on the pavement before 
Mrs. Kimboll's Hotel, and made some remarks relative 
to the court martial, which I do not recollect, it being 
only introductory to observations which ensued. 

" He said that he had received a letter from General 
Dayton, inviting him to participate in the scheme of the 
Ohio Canal, that he mentioned or shewed it (whtch, I do 
not recollect) to General Wilkinson, who t(dd him that 
he. General Wilkinson, and Colonel Burr, were concern- 
ed in a more extensive project. 

*« Mr. Simmons continued, that some friend or friends 
(which, I do not recollect) of Mr. Thomas, expressed 
surprise that he should act as one of tiie General's coun- 
sel, and that Mr. Thomas replied, * I do not engage to 
vindicate General Wilkinson's conduct, but to proceed 
agreeably to the testimony adduced, before the court 
mai'tial,' or words to this effect. Mi'. Simmons declared, 
that such engagement would be extremely injurious to 
Mr. Tliomas. 

" He said that General Wilkinson had been opposed 
to Fredericktown, as the seat of trial, alleged that he had 
many enemies in that place, and that he would even con- 
sider his life in danger there ; and mentioned particular- 
ly «)nc person, who edited a violent federal paper, and 
had abused him; that after this, the General contended 
for Fredericktown, as strenuously, as he had before ob- 
jected to it. 



• The prallant, and liighly honourable Lieutenant-colonel M'l'her- 
son, now consul at Madeira. 

YOi.. IT. 3 M 



458 MEMOIRS BY 

C'HAP. ** He declared, that he could substantiate the General's 
^^^' guilt, on one or two points of accusation, and mentioned 
the money transaction and the horses. 

« I asked him at what place he had received General 
Dayton's letter, and he answered at Washington City. 

« At another time, I heard Mr. Simmons express him- 
self respecting Colonel Freeman's testimony, as if he 
thought the Colonel had not, amply declared his infor- 
mation on the charges. 

« Again, he said, that the Judge Advocate should have 
informed the court, of the preliminaries of the trial, and 
being asked what they were, he i-eplied to this effect: 
that they deprived General Wilkinson of any advantage, 
he might be disposed to take of the act of limitation ; I 
observed, that no such intimation from the Judge Advo- 
cate, could have been necessary, as it was perfectly un- 
derstood, that the General had been extremely alarmed, 
lest the court should have misinterpreted the proper 
meaning of the statute, instead of having anticipated a 
plea from it. 

«< 2(1 ^ucstioiu — In those conversations of Mr. Sim- 
mons, did you think him, anxious to prejudice the minds 
of his liearers, and what reason had you to tiiink so ? 

** Jinsxvcr. — I did, and was absolutely convinced of it, 
when Doctor Baer told me that, Mr. Simmons had 
spoken disrespectfully of the General to him, a stranger 
to Mr. Simmons, and entirely unconcerned in the busi- 
ness of the court. 

« 3(/ Question. — Did you hear Mr. Simmons express 
those opinions, before others and who were they ? 

<< Answer — To the best of my recollection, on the 
evening of the 6th of September, Colonel Burbcck was 
Avithin hearings when speaking on the subject of the pre- 
liminaries of the court, I think there were present. Cap- 
tains Wilson and Cutler, Lieutenant Knight, and one or 
two others, and when addressing his conversation to Co- 
lonel Freeman, respecting his testimony, Lieutenant Opie 
and Mr. Murdock. 




GENERAL WILKINSON. 4;59 

i( 4th (luestioiu — What did you understand, by that 
part of his assertion, that Mr. Thomas did not engage 
to vindicate the General's conduct ? 

** Answer. — I thought he meant, that Mr. Thomas did 
no* undertake the General's vindication, being uncertain 
of his innocence, but that he entered on the trial as a 
lawyei', without a conviction of the General's integrity.*' 

Extract from Captain Cutler^s deposition. , 

i' 1st Question. — Did you hear William Simmons, ac- Captain 
countant of the w^ar department, speak of any observa- deposi 
tions made to him by General Wilkinson, concerning tion quo- 
any plan of Aaron Burr, and of his (Willliam Simmons) 
reply to General Wilkinson upon that subject, and if you 
did hear liim speak upon that subject, please to state 
wJiat he said, and when, and where ? 

" Ansxver. — On or about the middle of September last, 
at Mrs. KimboU's door, I heard Mr. Simmons make the 
following observations, <all that I know of the Burr 
business, I had from the General himself; he told me, 
that he ami Burr had a great and important plan on foot, 
in which if I would participate, mtj fortune would be madef 
we were at that time as intimate as brothers. I told him, 

I SHOULD NOT ENGAGE TN A SCHEME HOSTILE TO THE 
GOVERNMENT." 

Deposition of Doctor Jacob Baer. 

« Question. — Have you heard William Simmons, ac- Deposi- 
countant of the war department, speak injuriously of Ge- doctor 

neral Wilkinson, since his (^Simmons) attendance as a^aer.qiiO' 

ted. 
witness on the general court martial, be pleased to state 

time, place, and language, as well as you can recollect? 

" Answer. — It was in the early part of the last month, 

about the commencement of the court, I met with him on 

the porch of the house where the court sat; he began to 

speak of the business before the court, he said General 

Wilkinson had fij-st applied to the President to order the 



460 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, couvt to this place, and while the President was delibc' 
^" rating upon this request, the General requested it to be 
ordered to meet in Alexandria, alleging to the President, 
as a reason against holding the court here, the preju- 
dices in the minds of the people here against him, arising 
from the trial of Colonel Butler, and that General Wil- 
kinson had stated another circumstance, that there was 
a young lawyer here, alluding to one of his present 
counsel, J. H. Thomas, who edited an infamous federal 
paper. The Herald, in which was contained a number of 
abuses against the General. He asked me as we walked 
along the street, where was the Herald office, saying he 
\vished to inquire for the paper, containing Colonel But- 
ler's defence, that many people wished to see it; he like- 
wise mentioned, that the General had said, that he should 
not only have to encounter the prejudices of the people 
kere, but that he might say, his iil'e would be in danger. 
« qnestion.—llaxe you heard the said Simmons speak 
of tlic general court martial, or their proceedings, and 
threaten General Wilkinson with what he would swear? 
*' Answer. — Sometime afterwards (date not recollected) 
I met him at Mrs. KimboU's door ; he asked mc if I at- 
tended the general court martial, to tell him what was 
passing there, as he could not attend, being excluded as 
a witness; 1 informed him what evidence had been given 
in that day ; he asked mc my opinion ; I gave my opi- 
nion, upon whicli he observed, I had better wait till he 

WAS EXAMINED, AXD HE SHOUiD DISCLOSE SOMETHING, 
THAT WOULD TUOVE THE GENERAL 'JO BE llCrC 

lie was stopped, by tiic circumstance of General Wilkin- 
son stepping out of the door, and the conversation ended. 

i( (lucstion. — Have you heard the said Simmons speak 
of General Wilkinson's counsel, and of his inability to 
pay them, and what did he say? 

<< Jlnswer* — He asked mc at another time, m hat I sup- 
posed General Wilkinson's counsel would get: I told him 
that I did not suppose, tliat money was the object of the 
gentlemen; upon which he said they would not get a 
cent, that the General had taken tlic benefit of the insol- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 461 

vent law, to an enormous amount, and among the num- chap. 
ber, who had h)st by him, were the United States. I ^" 
think, but am not positive, he spoke of General Wilkin- 
son's having defrauded the public to a considerable 
amount. 

'• (Question' — On all and every of these occasions, did 
not the said Simmons appear to be moved by hatred, and 
malice, and to manifest a desire to excite prejudices, 
against t.e said Wilkinson, and to deprive him of a fair 
trial ? 

" Answer. — Those were the impressions upon my 
mind, because I heard Mr. Simmons take frequent occa- 
sions, to say many things of the General, not now parti- 
cularly recollected, tending to excite prejudices against 
General Wilkinson. He spoke of the General's counsel, 
and said the people (speaking of the citizens of Washing- 
ton) were astonished, Taney and Thomas should under- 
take his defence, after having said so many severe things 
of General Wilkinson; he at the same time remarked, 

THAT AS HE HAD NOT MUCH TO DO IN HIS OFFICE, HE 
HAD BROUGHT MONEY WITH HIM, TO DEFRAY THE EX- 
PENSES OF THE COURT, and should remaiw, as he was at 
so short a distance, as to communicate easily with his 
office. By way of explaining, why he mentioned the cir- 
cumstance, of his having brought money to defray the 
expenses of the court, it may be proper to state, that he 
enquired if my father, who had been in the habit of sup- 
plying the recruiting parties stationed here, was in town j 
that he meant to get him to furnisli wood for the officers." 

Certificate of Lieiitenant Le Roy Opie. 

<« A statement of a conversation which took place on Lieute- 

the 7th instant, between Mr. Simmons and myself. "'^"^, 

•' Opies 

" We were walking on the pavement before Mrs. Kim- certlfi- 
boll's door: I observed to Mr. Simmons, that I had seen ^^^^' 
stated in a newspaper, that Doctor Mitchill was to be 
secretary of war: Mr. Simmons observed, that he had 
heard nothing of it; that Doctor Jiliistis did not intend to re- 



463 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, sign, unless Wilkinson ivas to resumt the command of the 

■^"* army: I observed, suppose the court should acquit the 

General ; Mr. Simmons replied, the court could not, or if 

fheij did, the President would not confirm, the sentence, and 

that General fVilkinson woidd never command the 

AKMY AGAIN. 

(Signed) « LE ROY OPIE. 

" Lieutenant 5th Ivf. 

<»' Fredericklotvn, October 9th, 1811/' 
This witness, Simmons, has most pertinaciously sworn, 

" THE MlXTTAitY AGENTS ARE fXACED UNDER THE OR- 
DERS OF THE COMMANDING GENERAL, AND ARE BOUND 
TO COMPLY WITH HIS REQUISITIONS, FOR MONEY AND 
OTHER ARTICLES, FOR WHICH REQUISITIONS THE GE- 
NERAL IS KEsroNsiBLE;" and he adds, that "the mi- 
litary AGENT, AT NbW ORLEANS, IN THE SPRING AND 
SUMMER OF 1809, HAD ABUNDANCE OF FUNDS, AND 
THAT HE WAS AUTHORISED TO DRAW BILLS ON THE 
WAR DEPARTMENT, WHICH WERE ALWAYS ACCEPTED.''* 

. Now, Mr. President and Gentlemen of the court, I do 
assert, fearless of contradiction, that these solemn decla- 
rations of the accountant, are void of truth, and if per- 
jury BE THE CRIME OF TAKING A FALSE OATH, IN THE 
COURSE OF A JUDICIAL PROCEEDING, ON A POINT MATE- 
RIAL TO THE ISSUE, I DO NOT PERCEIVE HOW WiLLIAM 

Simmons is to escape that imputation; because the 
question at issue is this : Have I neglected my duty or 
not? If I have neglected my duty, I am punishable ; and if 
Mr. Simmons has sworn truly, my guilt is proved. But, 
gentlemen, the fact is otherwise, as I shall prove to your 
satisfaction; — 1st, by the letters of the secretary of war, 
to A. D. Abrahams, of the 12th of May 26th of April, [ 
8th of July4 and two of the 12thof Dec.§ 1808 ;~2d, by 
the letter of Colonel Gushing, dated 18tli Jan. 1809, en- 

• See liis testimony before this court. 

J See page 433. j Page 434. § Page 436, 



GENEIUL WILKINSON. 463 

closing his correspondence with Abrahams ;* — Sdly, by chap. 
the testimonyf of Captain Gibson ; — 4thly, by the letter:}: of ^"• 
John Smith, acting secretary of war, of the 8th of 
March, 1809, to William Linnard,* — and 5thly, by A. D. 
' brahams's letters to ine, of the 25th of April, and 17th 

Extract of a letter from Colonel Cits/tin^' to General TFilhinson, dated 
Columbian Springs, January ISt/i, 1809. 

" In my last, 1 informed jou that I had applied io the miVitary 
agent, for the transportation of a company to Fort Stoddert. I now 
enclose copies of tliat application and the military agent's reply. By. 
this you will perceive, that the commanding ofiiccr of this depart- 
ment, can make no movement of troops, which is to incur an expense 
of more than fifty dollars, until it is specially authorised by the de- 
dcpartment of war, unless Mr. A. D. Abrahams should consider such 
movement an extraordinary instance, in which case, he may exceed 
that sum. There is no discretion in the commanding officer. He has 
no funds, and he cannot command them ; and his case will be truly 
critical, if, under such circumstances, he is held responsible, for the 
safety of any post, or place within his district, whose present force is 
unequal to its defence. 

" We have now at Fort Adams, a sufficient nuniber of boats, to 
transport our present force from that post, to New Orleans; but they 
are very old and rotten, and though kept afloat, and in the best order 
possible, it is ray decided opinion, and I helieve that of every intelli- 
gent officer, on the ground, that they are entirely unfit for service, and 
ought, with the exception of three very small ones, to be condemned. 
Their timbers and planks are so rotten, that they can never be re- 
paired." 

Colonel Cushing to the Militartf Agent at JVe-w Orleans, dated, Canto7i- 

ment, Columbian Springs, Jan. 5th, 1809. 
" Sir, 

" I am ordered by the secretary of war to send a company from this 
place to Fbrt Stoddart, and the public service requires that it should 
be done without delay; but I have not the means of transportation at 
command, and the assistant military agent cannot furnish it, consist- 
ent with your instructions. I have therefore to request you, to au- 
thorise the assistant to provide the transport, and draw on you for 
the amount, or. If it cannot be done, to let me know it by return 
mail. 

" It is proper for me to advi.se you, that in the present situation of 
affairs, it may be necessary for me to incur expenses, in removing 
troops from one position to another, without sufficient time to apply 
to the government op to you, for the means of transportation, and if I 

t See page 455. t See page 437. 



464^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHA\^. of July, 1809, before submitted to this court. These tes- 
^^^' timonials prove, in respect to A. D. Abrahams, who dis- 
charged tlie duty of military agent, at New Orleans, du- 
ring the spring, and until the middle of the summer, of 
1809, that by the letter from the secretary of war, of the 
12th of May, 1808, he was forbid to draw bills on the 
war department, and in that of the 26tli. of April, he is 
informed, " that no considerable sum ought to be expendedy 
which is not actually authorised bij this department ;'* and 
again *»' fifty dollars is the highest sum to be allowed, 
in any case, not previously authorised, except in extraordi- 
iiary cases; and of these extraordinary cases, the agent 
is to judge, as is manifest from his letter of the 8th ot 
January, 1809, to Colonel Gushing, in which he also 
says, « he is forbid to draw, and that his funds were to be 
received through the Branch bankJ'^ I have not been able 
to procure from the war office, a copy of the letter to 
Abrahams of the 12th of May, proliibiting his drafts on 
the war department j but the letter of the secretary of 

am restricted to your instructions, to the agent here, the public ser- 
vice must inevitably suffer. 

(Signed) ' "T.H. GUSHING 

" A. D. Abrahams Esq. J)iilitary Agent, A'ew Orleans." 

" Military Agent's Office, JVew Orleans, 
" January Qth, 1809. 
« Sir, 

" I have received yours, of the 5th instant, and have enclosed you a 
copy of a letter, received from the honourable secretary of war, which 
prohibits my compliance. And I have not the means in my posses- 
sion, should the expenditure be to any considerable amount, as he 
has also directed me not to draw ; but, when funds are required, to 
notify him, and I should receive it through the branc'i bank at this 
place. The large expenditures, on account of fortifications at pre- 
sent, will, 1 am apprehensive, require considerable more money than I 
have in hand, prior to my receipt of a further supply, of which 1 have 
notified the secretary of war. 1 shall immediately transmit a copy of 
your letter to him, and request more extensive instructions, as the 
arrangements of the army, in my opinion, will shortly require it. 

" I am, &c. 
(Signed) '« A. D. ABRAHAMS, 

" Colonel Thomas E. Cushingy Comdg. M. Depot." 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 465 

war, of the 8th of July, explains the causes of that ar- CHAP, 
rangement, anJ leaves no doubt of tlie fact; and in his 
letter, of tlie 12th of December, the military agent is 
forbid to " advance money, hut for articles actually re- 
ceived, or for services peiformed" and the articles to 
be required, by the commanding* officer, are specifically 
enumerated, viz. <' such as workmen and materials for for- 
tifications, for quarters, transportation, and camp equipage; 
other articles for barracks or camp, ivere to he sent from the 
Jitlantic cluarter.'^ Under these restrictions, he (the mi- 
litary agent) is •< to procure or deliver to the orders of the 
commanding officer, such articles as he (tlie commanding 
officer) may deem necessary, for the public service.^' In a 
letter of the same date, from the secretary to the military 
agent, we have proof, that casli was remitted for the use 
of the army, by the secretary, who refers to ^20,000.s 
which he had sent on, ^' one moiety of it for fortif cations, 
the other for the contigencies of the army;" but the agent 
is forbid, in tiie letter of this date, first quoted, to make 
any advance of money. The letter of Colonel Gushing 
is explicit, as to his incapacity to controul the agent ; 
the testimony of Captain Gibson, proves that the agent, 
refused my note for S500, in a case of the most extraordi- 
nary nature, pleading his ordeks, of the 12th of 
December, for justification; the letter of the acting 
secretary of war, Mr. Smith, of the 8th of March, 1 809, 
to William Linnard esquire, shews that a bill of Abra- 
hams's was not accepted, ; and Abraliams's letters to 
me, of the 20th of April, and the 17th of July, prove, he 
liad neither funds in hand, nor power to draw on the war 
department. From these facts it results, that Mb. 
Simmons has sworn falsely, in every particular 
OF his statement: viz. inasmuch as, the agents were 
not placed under the orders, of the commanding general; as 
they were not hound to comply with his requisitions; as the^ 
military agent at JS''ew Orleans, in the spring and summer 
nfl809, had no funds in hand; as he was not authorised to 
draw hills on the war department; and as his hills, when 
he did draw, were not "always accepted." It we re- 
VOL. II. 3 N 



466 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, ier to the posterior instructions, oi" the present secretary 
^" of war, to Mr. M<Culloch, military agent, wc shall find 
by them, that the agent was to look for funds, to the office 
of Discount and Deposit in New Orleans, and, of course, 
he was not to draw bills ; and should he receive the or- 
ders of the commanding officer, and not like them, he 
was to exercise his discretion, until he could " consult 
the war department;" but he was authorised, to furnish 
monies to the assistant military agents, and the brigade 
and regimental quarter-masters, " at his discretion;" 
no purchases or expenditures were to be made, without 
his particular direction, « and in no other case, was he to 
advance money, but for articles actually received, or ser- 
vices performed." How, then, could he be bound to 
comply, with the requisitions of tlie General, or where 
were his fumls ? for none were lodged in the bank of Dis- 
count and Deposit, as Mr. M<Culloch explicitly inform- 
ed me, on the 26th of July, when he visited my camp, as 
is manifest from my letter to the secretary of war, of tiic 
Slst of that month, from which I make the following 
quotation. "The military agent, Mr. M'Culloch, call- 
ed here for a few hours, on the 26th instant; but I had 
little conversation with him: he complains that he has 
no money, and that Abrahams left none. I know nothing 
of this agent, his orders or instructions, for, I was not 
advised even of his appointment; but I understand he is 
opening an office, to remain at New Orleans, while 2,600 
men will be in the Mississippi territory, and if wc have 
occasion for fifty dollars expense, we must send to him 
three hundred miles." 

Should any person doubt, after this exposition, that 
<• the military agent was always bound to comply with my 
reqtdsitions" I can only again refer him, to tiie instruc- 
tions* of the secretary of war to Mr. M'Culloch, mili- 
tary agent, dated the itli of May, and the 10th of Au- 
gust, 1809; to the secretary of war's ordersf to A. D. 
Abrahams, military agent, of April 26th, 1808, and the 

* See page 438. | Page 433". 



GENER.1L WILKINSON. 4-67 

letter^ of the latter to me, July 17th, 1809 ; for if these chap. 
proofs do not produce conviction, I must abandon the 
•{uestion. 

From tliese premises it follows, irresistibly, that Wil- 
liam Simmons has sworn falsely, in this instance, and 
with malicious intent; which, connected with his bitter 
hostility to me, and other flagrant detections before 
this court, will, I trust, suflice to discredit him as a 
witness, although I cannot estimate his tedious^ evasive, 
jrrevaricating, false testimony » at the value of the paper on 
rvhich it was recorded. 

I proceed, gentlemen, to take notice of the paragraph 
of a letter, read in evidence, on the part of the prosecu- 
tion, from the secretary of war to the committee of Con- 
gress, which investigated the causes of the mortality 
among the troops, under my command, on the Missis- 
sippi, bearing date April the 16th, 1810, in the following 
language : 

*< On the resignation of Mr. Mrahams, Mr. Jlndretv General 
M^Culloch was appointed to succeed him, under instructions, remarks"" 
a copy of which (JVo. 2.) is herewith inclosed, beanng date on the se- 
May 4th, 1809. Mr. Mcculloch died a few days after his "rr'^iet- 
arrival; on which Major Zebulon M. Pike, of the Gthregi- ter of l6th 
ment, was appointed by General TFilkinson, as successor to by" way of 

Mr. M'Culloch.'' correcting 

any mis- 
apprehen- 

It is to correct a delusion, which may have arisen, out sion,asto 
of the accidental phraseology of this paragraph, that I of Major 
call your attention to it. Does it not strike you, gentle- P'^e's ap- 
men, at first blush, that Mr. Abrahams was relieved by 
Mr. M'Culioch, and that Major Pike stept into Mr. 
M<Culloch's shoes, immediately after his demise? Such, 
I confess, is the impression it would make on my mind. 
But what was the fact? Mr. Abrahams notified his re- 
signation, to the war department, on the 2d of January, 
1809, and left New Orleans the middle of July, 1809;— 

* See page 446. 



468 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Mr. M<Culloch was appointed to succeed liim, the *tli of 
^^^ May, arrived at New Orleans the 23d of July, after 
Abralmms's departure, and died, on the 6th of August, 
before he had established his office; — then, Robert An- 
drews, Benjamin Morgan, and F. Wells, esquires, were 
successively nominated to the temporary agency, but the 
two first declined acceptance, and the last died with my 
propositions before him; and, finally, I was compelled to 
nominate Major Pike, on the 13th of September, 1809. 
The extract from Abraliams's letter, of the 11 th of July, 
1809, and the copy of Major Pike's instructions, which 
follow, together with my letters to the secretary of war, 
of the 24th and the 30th of July, 10th August, and 3d 
and 18th September, which have been read in evidence, 
will furnish undeniable proofs of the correctness of this 
statement. 

ii JV'ew OtieanSi July llth, 1809. 

Mr. Abra. *• I have the honour of informing you, that the vessel 
hams an- j^ which I intend sailing to the United States, has ar- 

nounces 

his inten- rived, and will leave tiiis in a few days. Having notified 

tion to |.jjg tjenartment of war, on the 2d of January last, of my 

give up * ^ ' J 

the agen- desire to leave this country, and having lately received a 
'^^' letter from the accountant, informing me, in a postscript, 

that there is a military agent appointed for this territory, 
I consider myself justifiable in making the present ar- 
rangements, as so favourable an opportunity may not oc- 
cur soon after the agent's arrival; in which case, having 
a family to support, I siiould be at a very considerable 
expense in this extravagant city.'* 

Several material facts arise out of this extract : — It 
shews the period of Abrahams's throwing up the agency; 
it proves, that he considered himself master of his own 
actions ; it is a clear manifestation, that I possessed no 
controul over him; and it follows, that a military agent, 
taken from civil life, being solely dependent on the se- 
cretary of war, may abandon his office at his discretion ; 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 469 

which puts it in his power, to disconcert the wisest ar- chap. 

rangements, and by resigning at a critical moment, to ^"• 
defeat the plan of a whole campaign. 



Copy oj iiistnictions to Major Pike, Military Agent pro tern. 

« Camp Terre aux Boeufs, Sept, ±3th, 1809. 

-' Sir, 

« The situation of the public service, and the impossi- Major 
bility of finding a suitable character in private life, to pointed 
undertake the temporary duties of military agent, oblige agent. 
me to impose that office on you ; the ortlers and instruc- 
tions of the late incumbent, Mr. M'Culloch, are in the 
hands of Joseph Saul esq. ; you are to apply for them, 
and are strictly to regulate all your actions, and trans- 
actions by them, until you are relieved by a regular ap- 
pointment, by the war department. You are to refuse 
every thing you are ordered to refuse, and to give no- 
thing but what you are ordered to give, and whilst you 
pay particular respect to the public service, are in no in- 
stance to depart from rigid economy. 

« The troops being under orders of march, for the 
Mississippi Territory, you are, w ith the least possible de- 
lay, to employ the necessary transport, for conveying 
to Natchez, the clothing, camp equipage, medicine, hos- 
pital, and other stores, which have lately arrived, and are 
to be addressed to Lieutenant Jessup, brigade quarter- 
master, at that place. 

<< Although the orders and instructions of our supe- 
rior, must form the rule of your conduct, I consider it 
my duty to admonish you, to be extremely tenacious, of 
all disbursements made for fortifications, and in paying 
persons engaged on that service, that you adopt such re- 
gulations, as may preclude every possible imposition; 
and in meeting past disbursements, your own safety re- 
quires, the utmost circumspection and strictest adhe- 
rence to your orders. 



*70 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. *• You will take Lieutenant Chrystie, as assistant mi- 

^"" litary agent, if lie will accept the appointment, and will 

Lieut. employ sucli otiicr assistant, as your instructions may 

Chrystie authorise, 

SSstant *' Respectfully I am. Sir, 

i"'l'tary i. Your obedient servant. 

'*^''"^' (Signed) " JAMES WILKINSOIS'. 
« Major Z. J/. Pike.'* 



Thus, it appears, that there w as a suspension of the 
functions of the military agency, from the middle of 
July, until the 13th of September, a space of twfl months; 
and THIS fact was fully exposed to the secretary 
OF WAR, in the several letters referred to. How tlien 
could it he said «' that the military agent was at all times 
subject to my orders^ and bound to comply with my requisi- 
tions?" To you, gentlemen, and the world, I appeal for a j 
decision. 

But it may he urged, that what I had done in one case, 
I might have done in another ; that I ordered Abrahams 
to draw bills, contrary to his instructions, and might 
have given similar orders to his successor. It is an old 
and a just adage, gentlemen, that " circumstances alter 
Ceneval cascs ;" when I found the military agent, at New Or- 
Wilkin- leans, on my arrival in April, without a cent in hand, or 

son, im- •' . . , 

pelled by the means of procuring-one, with the urgent claims of 
imperious j-j^g service, pressing in QYcry direction, and the troops 
recom- ' actually in danger of being turned into the streets, from 

mends the (^j,g quarters wliich liad been taken for them, anterior to 

agent to * 

draw. my arrival ,• I did hazard my responsibility, and recom- 
mend to the agent, appointed by the government, not by 
myself, to draw for funds; but the following extract of 
my letter, to the secretary of war, of the £Oth of April, 
will pourtray the feelings, under which I ventured to 
make this assumption of power, and it is worthy notice 
>that this measure, although not disapproved, has never 
been approved, by the secretary of war. 



GENERAL A\1LK1NS0N. 4^1 

CHAP. 

Extract of a letter from General Wilkinson, to the honour- ^'i- 
aUe the Secretary of War, dated 20th Jlpril, 1809. *«^^''^«*-' 

•< It, is however, indispensable to the interests of the go- Extract of 
ccrnment, and the safety of the army, that I shoidd advise 5y"^^j^^ 
tjou without a moment's delay, of the very critical situation son's let- 
in which I find the military agency, which includes every gg^j^°J^^ 
department, from that of quarter -master-general, to that o/" of war, 
fortifications, which is liable to one cent of' expenditure, {{-^^he"^ 
Mr. Mrahams, who is an honest man, and a faithful qffi- had autho- 
cer, called on me last evening, and advised me, that he "^^^t to^ 
« shoidd, in consequence of his bills being dishonoured, this draw. 
morning shut up his office, and proceed to Washington^ 

*« However painful it may be, to interpose my authority 
on such an occasion, after the unmerited and long continued 
abuse, I have suffered, for sei'ving the public, and saving 
it thousands, by the exercise of my discretion, in defect of 
orders; I believe, I should be guilty of a wicked omission of 
duty, if I siffered Mr, Mrahams to pursue his course, and 
submitted to the consequetuies, which woidd at once, stop 
the progress of the fortifications, which have been ordered, 
and turn the troops from their quarters into the street; I 
have, therefore, directed him to proceed as usual, in confi- 
dence that the rejection of his bills, has proceeded from error 
or misapprehension; if, Mr, Abrahams had shut up his 
office, my duty to my country, and the solemn responsibility 
in which I stand, to preserve the public interest, would have 
enjoined it on me, to appoint some person to discharge the 
duties of his station; and to draw on yoii for funds, until a 
regular appointment could be made, by proper authority; 
and this, by widening my responsibility, woidd have in- 
creased my pain and anxiety. Having acted not only for 
the best, but in such a manner, as every consideration of 
policy, interest, and duty prescribed, I feel assured of your 
approbation." 

I, also, admit, tliat I did contemplate to direct Captains 
Swan and Gibson, successively, appointed to the duties 



47^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, of the military agency, pro tem., a few days only before 
■^"' the arrival of Mr. M'Cullorli, at New Orleans, to draw 
on the war department for funds, of which I gave advice 
to the secretary of war, in two official despatches ; but if 
Mr. M«Culloch had not arrived, I should not have car- 
ried my purpose into effect, because I was deterred from 
the step, by the following considerations ; that tliose 
officers were of my own appointment, not of the govern- 
ment^ that I possessed no legitimate authority to justify 
this step ; that the agent, Abrahams, had been forbidden 
to draw, according to his report to me; that the secreta- 
ry of war, had reiterated his admonitions on the score of 
economy; that I had been, undeservedly and unmerciful- 
ly, abused, for the prodigal waste of the public treasui'c ; 
and that the accountant Simmons, was incessant in his 
clamours, against the disbursements of the army. 

Let any military man, place himself in my situation, 
and then say, what would have been the effect, of such 
admonitions and such apprehensions ; would they not 
have chilled his ardour; appalled his zeal; restricted his 
means ; destroyed his confidence ; and plunged him into 
that awkward predicament, in which a man becomes 
afraid to do right, lest he should be charged with doing 
wrong? And these considerations derived force, from the 
report of Joseph Saul esquire, who, in virtue of his office of 
general administrator, had got possession of Mr. M'CuI- 
Mr. loch's papers ; from which it appeared, he was not an- 

M'Culloch f],Qj,jsg(| (q draw bills on the war department, but was to 

ordered to » ' 

looktothe look to the Bank of Discount and Deposit, in New Or- 

Discount ^^^"s» f"^* funds, when none had been deposited for his 

and Depo. use;* but, yet, I am condemned, for not directing the 

funds'^ military agent, under this mass of insuperable obstacles, 

though to advance money to the brigade and regimental quar- 

been pla- tcr-mastci's, for the accommodation of the troops, on the 

ced to his voyage to Natchez ; but who ever heard of the regiment- 

credit 

al quarter-masters, of a marching army, being furnished 

• See M'CuUoch's instructions, and my letters of the 31st July, 
and 3d September, 1809, to the secretary of war- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 478 

with money for such service? Every subaltern, nay every chap. 
cli'ummer, must know, that the quarter-masters of corps, *'^"' 
do not belong to the department of purchases; in rej^ular 
service they receive specifics, from the proper officers of 
the general staff, and it is their duty to distribute only. 

To cap this column of impediments and interdictions, 
the secretary's letter, of the 10th of August, to the mili- 
tary agent, arrived at this critical stage of our opera- 
tions, and was conclusive on my conduct; I, therefore, 
left Major Pike to the government of his instructions, 
and, if he did draw on the war department, it was done 
on his own responsibility; but under this pressure of em- 
barrassments, what was my conduct? Did I abandon my 
trust without leave? Did I flee*, like a coward, from my 
command, leaving all things in disorder behind me? Did 
I give an example, which, witiiout a corrective, goes to 
sap a fundamental principle of our profession; and, even, 
to justify desertion? No — gentlemen; when too ill to General 
leave my apartment, or even my bed, on my own credit, g^^ dl'iveu 
and by the assistance of Benjamin Morgan csq.,f mer- to the ne- 
chant of New Orleans, I raised betweert two and three rafsTnff'2 
thousand dollars, on a part of the notes, taken at ninety or 30G0 
days, for the public horses, sold at a profit of 12 or 1500 ^otes 
dollars to the United States, which were placed in the taken in 

T , „ T ■ T 1 1 • 1 payment 

bands of Lieutenant Jessup, the brigade quarter-master; for public 
who, after discharging, therewith, a variety of accounts, horses 
incident to the embarkation of the troops, had a sum, 
left in his hands, to disburse tlie contingent expenses of 
the march, which he was ordered to attend ; but he had. 
shared the common fate, and from a state of convales- 
cence, unexpectedly relapseil, and was not able to over- 
take the troops, before they reached Natchez ; at which 
l)lace, it will be seen from Doctor Daniel's deposition, I 



• This was the case of Brigadier-general Hampton, who relieved 
me, and fell sick at Washing-ton, Mississippi Territory. 

f A mai> whose patriotism and public spirit, would be honourable 
to the first citizen of his country, and whose beneficence is an orna- 
ment to human nature. 

vol. II. 3 



474! MEMOIRS BT 

CHAP again borrowed money for the accommodation of the 
J^ sick. 

In my letter, of the SOth of September, to the secreta- 
ry of war, I observe « that the troops, being completely 
equipped for the voyage, commenced their movement, on 
the 20th, from a position above the city, and will not halt 
until they reach Natcliez, unless compelled by weather, 
which is, at present, divine." This transcript, too, has 
been read in evidence against me, and I can have no ob- 
jection to its admission, though I must take the libei-ty to 
extend the quotation, to shew you, gentlemen, the state of 
my health, when I wrote that letter. 

General « To find myself wiahle to accompany them, (the troops') 
son's 'se- ^"^'^'^ ^^^ '^ Utter or a boat, has galled me to the souk and 
vera indis- seemed to retard my recovery — thank God, I feel relief this 
posi, ion. jj^Qj,jiijig^ from my disease, which has been confined to my 
head, stomach, neck and shoulders, in the character of an in- 
termittent, with so strong an infiammatory disposition, as 
io have obliged me to bleed copiously, five times since the 1st 
of June; it was m.y duty to laugh at the first attacks, (and 
not to yield to them) by way of example and encourage- 
ment; but two days after I began my embarkation, the ene- 
my pressed me hard, and on my arrival here, the powers of 
my iron constitution yielded.^' 

If the candour of this statement, should be suspected, 
I would recommend the perusal of the depositions* of 

* Extract from the deposition of Doctor Robert Doiv. 

" Question. — Did you not visit General Wilkinson, when ill in New 
Orleans, in September, 1809 ? 

" Answer. — I did. 

" Question. — Did not his illness confine him to the house and his 
bed? 

" Anstvev. — It did. He had a remittent fever, attended with very 
violent paroxysms. 

" Qticstion. — Did he rfot follow the troops, before his health was 
established, and too early for his safety ? ' 

" Ans-wer. — He did, notwithstanding my advice, and the reilion- 
strances of his other medical friends, to the contrary." 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 475 

Doctors Dow, Flood, and Macaulay^ who attended me, chap. 



and of Colonel Beall, Captain Pinkney, and, evcUf of 
that horse officer, Lieutenant-colonel Backus, to dissi- 
pate every scruple ; hut with respect to the communica- 
tion to the secretary of war, touching t'the equipment of 
Hie troops for the voyage" it is evident, from the circum- 
stance of heing confined to my hedj that my information 
must have been founded on report; and the consciousness 
of having done my duty, naturally inclined me to credit 
the information of my subordinates. 

Extract from the c2e/io.iifia)t of Ttoctor Flood. 

" Question. — Did you not visit and attend General Wilkinson, wheu 
ill in New Orleans, in September, 1809 ? 

" Ansiver. — I visited General Wilkinson several times when sick in 
New Orleans, in September 1809. 

" Question. — Did not his illness confine him to his house and hig 
bed ? 

" Ans-wer. — It did. My first visit to him was by the request of one 
of his frifends, at the quarters of Major Z. Pike. He asked me to ex- 
amine the state of his pulse ; I did, and found it peculiar and irregu- 
lar, whiclx then gave me some uneasiness for his safety. I saw him 
afterwards ; his state of convalescence was tedious, owing, I believe, 
to the great anxiety of mind, which he then appeared to labour under, 
and the being incessantly importuned on business. 

" Quesiion. — Did he not follow the troops, before his health was es- 
tablished, and too early for his safety. 

" Answer. — I thought he did." 

Extract from the deposition of Jllexander J\facaulat/, Sur^eo7i^s J\Iate in 
the United States army. 

" Questio7t. — Did you not visit and attend General Wilkinson when 
ill, in New Orleans, September, 1809 ? 

" AnSTuer. — I did. 

" Question. — Did not his illness confine him to the house and hh 
bed? 

" Answer.— It did. 

" Question. — Did he not follow the troops before his health was es» 
tablished, and too early for his safety ? 

" Answer. — He did, both contrary to my repeated advice and re- 
monstrance." 



xn. 



476 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
Xll. 

Transport 
abundant 
when the 
army mov- 
ed from 
the ne gi>- 
bourhood 
of New 
Orleans. 



All kinds 
of sup- 
plies suffi 
cient. 



Reflec- 
tions on 
tlie secre- 
tary of 
war's or- 
der, and 
arrange - 



It cannot be asserted, that I could have had any iotCf 
rest in making an incorrect report; but vvliat were the 
real circumstances of the detachment, when it left the 
vicinity of New Orleans ? Tiie transport was abundant.* 

From Lieutenant-colonel Backus, it appears, tliat 
<i some boats were exclian.2;ed, at New Orleans," and 
more niight have been procured, if they had been re- 
quired; but I heard no* complaint on the subject; the 
boats were covered, to keep otf the rays of the sun and 
the dews of t!ic niij;ht, and were equipped with oars, 
masts, and sails. The troops had just received two 
montlrs ])uy, more than sufficient for tlie march. The 
contractor's agent attended tlie movement, with biscuit,^ 
flour, beef, and pork, of which I have heard no com- 
plaint; medicines and hospital stores, were distributed 
to the surgeons, in due proportions ; tlie whole stock was 
sent forward ; and if Colonel Beall, Captains Ragan, 
Gibson and Wallace, and Doctor Goodlet, may be be- 
lieved, there could have been no sufferings for the want J 
of tliose articles. And it has been proved, also, that the 
annual clothing accompanied the troops, although it ap- 
pears, from LieiiUnant-coioncl Backns's testimony , that it 
was not made up, and of course, could not have been 
convenientlif issued on the march; all these provisions, for 
the march, Mr. President and gentlemen of the court, 
were made under my own arrangements, at a time, either 
when much indispose«l, or extremely ill ; and what more 
would my enemies, expect from a sick man ? 

In the wide, wild range adopted by my accuser, I 
should not be surprised to hear it suggested, that in the 
circumstances of the troops, it was my duty to have ha- 
zarded my orders, and cojitinued at Terrc aux Bo^ufs; 
but to you, gentlemen, who understand the blind obe- 
dience, due to a peremjjtory order, no argument is ne- 
cessary, to justify my conduct; if I had remained there 
on my own discretion, would my profession, or the se- 
cretary of war, have justified me? No! I could not have 



See the depositions of Cvptains Wallace, Ragan and Gibson.' 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 477 

looked for justification to either, because my own breast chap. 
would not justify me, although my feelings and my judg- ^"• 
ment, recommended tlie measure. The letter of the se- ^^^^^^ {q^ 
cretary of war, of the 15th of July, fully explains, what the move- 
were his impressions, his calculations, and his expectations, ^^^^^°^ 
touching this movement, and if 1 had opposed them, it 
would have been at my peril ; the events have shewn, 
that he was unfortunately deceived throughout. It is 
proved, by tlie testimony of Captain Ilagan, that his 
company, one of the strongest, and healthiest of the de- 
tachment, at Terre aux Bosufs, which enjoyed every com- 
fort and convenience, of a gun-boat passage, the mode of 
transport presented by the secretary, and wanted neither 
provisions, clothing, money, medicines, nor stores, suf- 
fured as heavily as any one, which made the voyage; 
but what would have been the consequence of my re- 
maining, at Terre aux Boeufs, after the peremptory - 
orders, and the arrangements of the secretary of war, 
for the movement to Natchez, and the pleasing anticipa- 
tions, which are strongly expressed in his letters, of tlie 
15th of July, and the 5th of August? I should have made 
myself, responsible for every death, which happened by 
disease or accident; they would have been magnified 
ten-fold, by Clark and his adherents ; and then the vio- 
lation of my orders, being palpable, I might have been, 
with good cause, accused of contumacy, and dismissed 
the service even without an enquiry. 

I regret that I should ever be reduced, to the sad ne- 
cessity, of justifying myself at any man's expense; but 
I have no alternative: I must submit to my wrongs, or 
vindicate my conduct. 

It is in proof, before this court, from numerous sources The posi- 
on the spot, too highly distinguished for wealth, charac- s"^'o" o^ 
ter, age, experience, observation and integrity, to be Boeufs.^up- 
questioned — of soldiers and citizens — of physicians and held by all 
surgeons — of Americans, Frenchmen and Spaniaixls, in- t,ons of 
eluding the governor of the territorv, that the i)osition, of charac- 

* icrs for 

Terre aux Bosufs, is as remarkable for its salubi'ity, as salubrity, 
it is for its aptitude to the defence of New Orleans; these ^"^ *P^^- 



478 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, witnesses, also, concur in the opinion, founded on common 

^" reason, and justified by the experience, of from eight to 

tude for ^'^^^' y^^^'^' ^hat the ascent of tlie Mississippi, during the 

tlie de- heats of spring, summer and autumn, would be dangerous 

New Or- ^^ *''® Creoles of the country, and fatal to strangers : — . 

leans. What, then, must have been the natural, and inevitable 

result of such a movement, on a body of diseased valetu- 

Reflec- dinarian and convalescent recruits, who had recently ar- 
tions •' 

on the nn- rived there from tlic Atlantic states ? With heartfelt sor- 

movement ^"^^» ' answer, gentlemen, the grave which received 
of the them. Yet, it is my misfoitune, that the secretary of 
loops. yfJ^^l^^ should have adopted conclusions exactly the re- 
verse, and that he should, on misinformation, have cen- 
sured me for the exertion of my best faculties, in the ex- 
ecution of my orders, as will be apparent, from the fol- 
lowing letter to Doctor Daniel, the senior surgeon at 
the hospital. 

« War Department, January I9th, 1810. 
« Sir, 

« Your letter of the 26th December is received — in- 
formed of the dreadful mortality' which prevailed among 
the troops; I had hoped that your arrival at an earlier 
period than, as it appears, you had been able to effect it, 
with the assistance of Mr. Thomas and Mr. Pinkerton, 
whose time of departure from the states warranted a be- 
lief, that they would arrive in camp long before you, 
would have alleviated tlieir calamitous condition: But 

THE SEEDS OF DEATH HAD BEEN SOWN AT TeRRE AUX 
BCEUFS, AND IT REMAINED ONLY TO RESCUE FROM THE 
HARVEST, BY RESTORATIVE MEDICINES AND DIET, 
THOSE WHOSE STRENGTH OF CONSTITUTION HAD BORNE 

THEM THROUGH THE SEASON. I did cxpcct, and I rcst 
in confidence, that your arrival has given to llie medical 
character of the army a new character, impulse and use- 
fulness. To place at your disposal suitable means, and 
such as you shall approve, will be considered due to the 
public. That tlie health of the remnant who have sur- 
vived, is to be restored less by medicine than by restora- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 479 

tive diet, you well know. If the arrangement cannot be chap. 
made with the contractor, by a commutation of the ration •^'^• 
for such articles as are suitable for the sick and conva- 
lescent, ADVISE WITH AND TAKE THE DIRECTION OF 

Generai, Hampton, to whom I have written; he will 
authorise you to purchase supplies. Among the extra- 
vagancies at New Orleans, accounts were presented for 
articles such as you have named, and at prices which 
were exorbitant ; on their being exhibited, a prohibito- 
ry DIRECTION WAS GIVEN ; BUT NEITHER THIS NOR ANY 
OTHER ORDER, IS TO STAND BETWEEN THE REASOITA- 
BLE WANTS OF THE SXIVIv AM» THElR tJOVEKNMENT. A 

memorandum of those articles was inclosed to you, by 
which you will perceive the nature of them, and the prices 
charged. Every thing in New Orleans appeared to be 
CORRUPT : it has proved the grave of our funds — the rest 
you too well know. It is possible, there may arise in- 
stances, in which the best arrangement that can be made 
will fail; in such circiunstances, and until relief can be 
had by another arrangement, you may draw immediately 
on this department, keeping or causing te be kept, regu- 
lar accounts and vouchers, with correspondent returns 
of sick, charging provisions and other articles under their 
proper heads. 

<• By Captain Swan, military agent, articles of medicine 
(of which an invoice is inclosed) presumed to be required, 
were shipped to New Orleans. Having charge of the me- 
dicine, it will be for your discretion, to select such as 
may be required for hospital service. For the year 1809 
it was put up for each company,* and no specific quan- 
tity was selected for the hospital. 

<« Your assistant. Doctor John H. Turner, will be no- 
minated for the office of surgeon's mate. Dr. Goodlet 
will be remembered. 

* Medicines for an army arranged to companies ! and the secretary 
of war, who directed this arrangement, himself a doctor. The secre- 
tary intended to equalise disease among the companies, without re- 
spect t